To Be And To Last #20

This week we explore the time Pepsi bought a navy, a semi-solved 2006 bank robbery, and IKEA’s answer to coffee.

6 robbers, 200 police, and $8-20 million in loot

In 2006 in a quiet suburb of Buenos Aires, the police managed to interrupt a bank robbery in progress. Hours of negotiation later, they finally stormed the bank only to find… the robbers had vanished, along with the contents of 143 safe-deposit boxes.

What the police had thought was a tricky negotiation with cornered suspects was actually a carefully choreographed plan designed to give the robbers time to break into the safe-deposit boxes before disappearing into the cities sewer tunnels. They left behind a stack of toy guns and an enigmatic note.

When Pepsi thawed the Cold War

“We’re disarming the Soviet Union faster than you are,” Kendall quipped to Brent Scowcroft, President George H.W. Bush’s national security adviser.

In 1989, the Soviet Union traded 17 submarines and 3 warships for Pepsi. But it really started in 1972, when Pepsi-Cola negotiated a monopoly deal to enter the USSR. There was just one small problem: the USSR’s currency had no value internationally. So Pepsi traded cola syrup for vodka, naturally.

But when the US began boycotting Russian vodka in response to the Soviet-Afghan war, things took a turn: the USSR traded old navy vessels which Pepsi was able to resell for scrap metal.

Unfortunately Pepsi’s more recent initiatives have proven somewhat less effective.

Is IKEA the anti-coffee?

99% of ad campaigns are too clever for their own good, but I quite appreciated IKEA’s clever pro-sleep campaign:


To Be And To Last: Thinker Nate Desmond’s weekly roundup of long reads, contrarian thoughts, and hidden jewels that aren’t getting enough attention.

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