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• Pepsi did not release cans with a design that featured the Empire State Building and a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that omitted the words “under God.”
• Dr Pepper released a can with the Statue of Liberty and the words “One nation… indivisible” in 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
• As early as 2002, these claims against Pepsi were debunked.
Pepsi has come under fire for nearly two decades for its supposed decision to release cans showing an excerpt from the Pledge of Allegiance — minus the phrase "under God."
And yet, Pepsi never has issued such a can, nor has it ever announced plans to do so. The accusation, which is again circulating on social media, is fabricated and based on another soda company’s patriotic promotion 19 years ago.
"So no one forgets," reads a Sept. 23 Facebook post. "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 2 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."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The claims in the post are false and have been around since 2002.
Pepsi has never released a can that featured the Empire State Building and/or a truncated excerpt from the Pledge of Allegiance. These inaccurate claims against Pepsi appeared after Dr Pepper unveiled a can in November 2001— in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — that featured an image of the Statue of Liberty and the words, "One Nation … Indivisible."
At one point, Pepsi released a statement titled, "False rumor alert: patriotic cans," according to Snopes.com.
"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," the statement said. "A patriotic package used in 2001 by Dr Pepper (which is not a part of PepsiCo) was inappropriately linked to Pepsi."
Cadbury Schweppes also issued a statement noting that its patriotic Dr Pepper can in fact left out most of the 31 total words in the pledge:
"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. Only three words were used from the Pledge of Allegiance. Those three words were in concert with the patriotic mood of the nation."
The limited edition patriotic can was retired in February 2002 and would not be used again, the statement said.
The design that sparked outrage was from a Dr Pepper can, not a Pepsi can as the post claims. There is also no evidence Pepsi intends to release a can design featuring a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance or the Empire State Building.
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, Sept. 23, 2020
Snopes.com, "Did Pepsi Omit ‘Under God’ from the Pledge of Allegiance?" Feb. 9, 2002
Web Archive, "Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages press release ‘To Dr Pepper Consumers,’" accessed Sept. 29, 2020
The Guardian, "Pepsi distances itself from Dr Pepper row," Sept. 18, 2002
Tampa Bay Times, "Patriotic Pepsi cans don't exist," Aug. 31, 2005
The Florida Times-Union, "Fact Check: Did Pepsi produce a can with the Pledge of Allegiance with the words ‘under God’ omitted?" Dec. 13, 2012
Dr Pepper website, "Corporate Information," accessed Sept. 29, 2020
New York Times, "Cadbury to Purchase Dr Pepper," Jan. 27, 1995
Britannica, "PepsiCo, Inc." accessed Sept. 29, 2020
Dr Pepper Snapple Group, "Our Company History," accessed Sept. 29, 2020
Pepsico, "Product information: Beverages," accessed Sept. 29, 2020
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