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Your evening longread: The Pepsi contest that became a deadly fiasco

It’s a coronavirus-free zone as we bring you an interesting longread each evening to take your mind off the news.

Image: Shutterstock/zef art

EVERY WEEK, WE bring you a round-up of the best longreads of the past seven days in Sitdown Sunday.

And now, every weeknight, we bring you an evening longread to enjoy which will help you to escape the news cycle. 

We’ll be keeping an eye on new longreads and digging back into the archives for some classics.

Pepsi contest

Let’s go back to the Philippines in 1992, when Pepsi launched a promotion that gripped the nation (along with Argentina, Chile, Guatemala and Mexico).  However, the promotion went horribly wrong, and its impact reverberates to today.

(Bloomberg Businessweek, approx 20 mins reading time)

Across the Philippines’ 7,641 islands, ads had promised people “You could be a millionaire.” A million pesos, about $68,000 in today’s dollars, was the largest prize available, 611 times the country’s average monthly salary at the time. The published odds of winning that amount were 28.8 million to 1, but Pepsi had already minted 18 millionaires. They appeared in its ads, real as day. One, a bus driver named Nema Balmes, became known as Mrs. Pepsi after joking that drinking cola put her husband “in the mood.”

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