Essay by jennifer11071976College, UndergraduateA+, October 2004

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It Was Just a Joke!

October 22, 2004


By: Jennifer Ruddell

It Was Just a Joke!

With a commercial featuring a boy dressed in a Pepsi t-shirt (70 Pepsi points), a leather jacket (1450 Pepsi points), and sunglasses (175 Pepsi points), this teenager gets into his Harrier Jet (7,000,000 Pepsi points) and takes a unique trip to school. Plaintiff John D.R. Leonard wanted that Harrier Jet and with fifteen Pepsi points and a calculated check of $700,008.50 for the difference, he sent in an order form for it and felt he was entitled to it, just like winners of the Pepsi t-shirt, leather jacket, or sunglasses.

With the four elements of contract; agreement, competent parties, legal purpose, and consideration, Pepsi declined to present him with this prize on three separate occasions. In their objective theory of creating and advertising this commercial, they felt reasonable viewers would know that this Jet was not a winning prize because of value and ongoing jokes throughout the advertisement.

"A basic rule of contracts holds that whether an offer has been made depends on the objective reasonableness of the alleged offeree's belief that the advertisement or solicitation was intended as an offer." (Opinion & Order). But in a unilateral contract, there is only an agreement on one side. In this contract, the Pepsi company and the winner are both involved.

The Court didn't believe that this man really thought he could get such a huge financial deal. But because advertisements are generally considered offers, this confuses the situation. Commercials like Herbal Essence, Snickers, and Mountain Dew advertise offers like the feeling of sex, relief, and contentment. The difference between these commercials and this particular Pepsi commercial is that some of this commercial is true. And as the defense argued, the commercial offered no...