Break the Chain But It Tastes More Like Regular Dr. Pepper

Created 2/19/2002 (8/19/2002) The adage that "no good deed goes unpunished" has been illustrated several times in the last few months as many companies have endeavored to cater to a nation's new-found patriotism.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

I just heard on the news that Dr. Pepper has the Pledge of Allegiance on their drinks, but left out "under God". If you would like to let them know how you feel about that, here is their email address.

To: consumer_relations@dpsu.com

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

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This chain and a longer, more outraged version from the American Family Association that gives more specific directions (and a sample letter to Dr. Pepper) began circulating in February, 2002. A later, more misleading chain letter surfaced in July, 2002, following the controversial Federal Court Ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional.

Have you seen the can in question? Don't be surprised if you haven't - Dr. Pepper only made 41 million of them and they were distributed in select markets where the distributor specifically requested them. Here's what they looked like:

One Can, Under God

As you can see, in addition to omitting the phrase "under God," the can also leaves out 26 other words of the 31-word pledge! Michael A. Martin, Director of Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Incorporated's Corporate Communications, offered the following explanation for the chosen design:

"We incorporated elements from two important symbols of America, the Statue of Liberty and three words from the Pledge of Allegiance. The words "One Nation...Indivisible," were selected to underscore and support the mood of the nation -- that we are united and value freedom.

"The limited space on the can did not allow the printing of the entire Pledge of Allegiance. Of the 31-word Pledge, only three words were used, while more than 90% were not. Our objective was to make a patriotic statement. We never intended to offend anyone, and apologize to anyone who may be offended."

Martin also explained that concerns about the can's design will soon be moot:

"The Patriot can artwork is considered short term "promotional" packaging, and the last orders were taken about two weeks ago. Most will be out of the market in time for the April 2002 introduction of a nationwide promotion linked to a major feature film."

Since September 11, several companies (including Time Magazine) have used the abbreviated phrase "One Nation, Indivisible" to express the notion of a people who have been drawn more closely together in adversity. Unfortunately, it was most likely Dr. Pepper's use of an ellipse (...) instead of a comma to replace the religious element of the pledge that garnered it the negative attention.

This chain exemplifies how careful omission of key facts can make even the most innoccuous of intentions seem sinister. Break this Chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: Later versions of the rumor

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