Did Pepsi Omit 'Under God' in Its Patriotic Can Promotion?

Can and glass of Pepsi cola
Fotoatelie / Getty Images

"Don't buy Pepsi in the new can!" This baseless email campaign hoax circulating since August 2002 protests the alleged omission of the words "under God" in an excerpt from the Pledge of Allegiance featured on new Pepsi cans.

Assessment of Pepsi's Patriotic Can

This pointless call to arms against Pepsi-Cola is a variant of an email protest originally aimed at the manufacturer of a different soft drink, Dr Pepper, in February 2002.  Dr Pepper cans did, in fact, carry a short excerpt from the Pledge of Allegiance during a patriotically-themed promotion that lasted for a few months in 2001 and 2002.

However, Pepsi, which is manufactured by a different company altogether, has never run such a promotion, nor announced any plans to do so. There is no new Pepsi can with the Empire State building or words from the Pledge of Allegiance on it. Given PepsiCo's response, it's unlikely their marketing department will ever consider such a can as it could play into the never-ending Internet rumors.

PepsiCo's Response Statement

You can see PepsiCo's response statement, originally posted in 2012 and updated periodically.

"You may have received an erroneous message 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 nine years. A patriotic package used in 2001 by Dr Pepper (which is not a part of PepsiCo) was inappropriately linked to Pepsi. Thanks for giving us the chance to clarify the situation and please feel free to share this message with anyone else who may have received the erroneous email."

Sample Message About Pepsi's Patriotic Cans

Posted on Facebook on Aug. 5, 2011:

Don't buy the new Pepsi can coming out with pics of the Empire State building and the Pledge of Allegiance on them. Pepsi left out two little words in the pledge: "Under God." Pepsi said they didn't want to offend anyone. So if we don't buy them, they won't be offended when they don't receive our money with the words "In God We Trust" on it. How fast can you repost?

Don't Repost Before Checking

While you may be stirred by patriotism or religious belief to quickly share a message about a company that doesn't honor your beliefs, it's wise to check before reposting. The company in question may not have committed the offense that is purported, and you will be spreading false information. Or, the information may be more than a decade out of date and the company learned its lesson and made amends in the distant past.

Unfortunately, once such rumors begin, they tend to crop up again and again for many years. Don't be surprised if you receive this hoax from a trusted friend. You can inform them of the truth or simply ignore or delete their message.