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Pepsi Can Email Hoax

Outline
Message claims that a new Pepsi can is to feature the Pledge of Allegiance, but will omit the words "Under God" (Full commentary below).



Brief Analysis
This message is a hoax. The claim in the message is false. Pepsi has no plans for such a can, nor has it ever produced a can that features the Pledge of Allegiance, complete or abridged.

Detailed analysis and references below example.
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Last updated: 23rd March 2011
First published: 19 April 2004
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Examples
(Facebook version - March 2011)
... patriotic PEPSI CAN coming out with pictures of the Empire State Building and the Pledge of Allegiance on them. Pepsi LEFT OUT two little WORDS on the pledge, "UNDER GOD". Pepsi said they did not want to offend anyone. So, if we don't buy them they wont be offended when they don't receive our money that has the... words "In God we Trust" on it!!! How fast can you re-post this??

Facebook Pepsi Can Hoax


(Email version - September 2007)
Subject: DON'T BUY PEPSI IN THE NEW CAN!

DON'T BUY PEPSI IN THE NEW CAN!

Don't buy Pepsi in the new can. Pepsi has a new "patriotic" can coming out with pictures of the Empire State Building, and the Pledge of Allegiance on them.

However, Pepsi left out two little words on the pledge, "Under God."

Pepsi said they didn't want to offend anyone. In that case, we don't want to offend anyone at the Pepsi corporate office, either!

So if we don't buy any Pepsi product, they will not be offended when they don't receive our money that has the words "In God We Trust" on it.

HOW FAST CAN YOU FORWARD THIS ONE?




Detailed Analysis
This email forward calls on US citizens to boycott the Pepsi Company on the grounds that they are unpatriotic and anti-Christian. It claims that a new "patriotic can" that is to be released has the Pledge of Allegiance on it but omits the words "Under God." Naturally, such a can might raise the ire of patriotic US citizens, especially those that are Christians. Many would feel so strongly about the issue that they would indeed boycott Pepsi products in protest.

However, the claim in the message is completely untrue. Pepsi has no plans for such a can, nor has it ever produced a can that features the Pledge of Allegiance, complete or abridged. It is therefore not surprising that in spite of the fact that the email has been circulating for several years, the alleged Pledge of Allegiance can has not yet made an appearance.

The Pepsi company has published the following statement on its website denying the rumour:
You've received an erroneous email about a "patriotic can" that Pepsi allegedly produced with an edited version of America's Pledge of Allegiance. The truth is, Pepsi never produced such a can. In fact, this is a hoax that has been circulating on the Internet for more than four years. A patriotic package used in 2001 by Dr Pepper (which is not a part of PepsiCo) was inappropriately linked to Pepsi.
This pointless rumour apparently arose from a similar "protest" email surrounding patriotic packaging used by another drink manufacturer, Dr Pepper. The Dr Pepper packaging featured just a few words from the Pledge of Allegiance and these words did not include "Under God". As Pepsi's statement on the issue reveals, Pepsi is in no way affiliated with Dr Pepper and it is unclear how or why Pepsi became the target of later versions of the protest email.

Moreover, it is highly improbable that Dr Pepper intended the omission of "Under God" as any kind of political or anti-Christian message. Back in 2002, Dr Pepper published the following statement clarifying the company's position on the issue:
Feb. 5, 2002

A Note to Dr Pepper Consumers:

In recent days, several news media outlets in the country have reported on a special edition Dr Pepper can that was created to show support for the patriotic fervor that has been sweeping America since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and to show the world that we are a united nation of people who place a high value upon freedom.

Much of the information being circulated on this subject is incomplete or inaccurate. Here are the facts:

The can, released last November, features an image of the Statue of Liberty along with the words "One Nation ... Indivisible." The special packaging was designed to reflect our pride in this country's determination to stand together as one. The Statue of Liberty and Pledge of Allegiance were chosen as two of the greatest symbols of American freedom.

Due to space limitations on the can, only a few of the 31 words from the Pledge of Allegiance could be used. The available area for graphics limited the amount of verbiage on the can. Of the 31 words in the Pledge of Allegiance, only three were included. More than 90 percent were not included.

We at Dr Pepper/Seven Up strongly believe that the message on these cans is a resoundingly patriotic, bipartisan message that we are a united nation.

More than 41 million special edition cans were ordered by Dr Pepper bottlers in portions of a dozen states. Because the limited edition patriotic was retired in February, you will soon see regular packaging graphics for Dr Pepper at your local retail stores.

Sincerely,
Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.
To reiterate, Pepsi has never, nor is it intending to produce a can like the one described in the message. And Dr Pepper stopped using the packaging graphics that caused the controversy in the first place back in 2002. Thus, the continued forwarding of this email is a total waste of time and bandwidth. It will serve only to spread useless misinformation and clutter inboxes.

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References
Pepsi World - False Rumor Alert
Dr Pepper Website

Last updated: 23rd March 2011
First published: 19 April 2004
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer