(9/19/2002) An old, somewhat substantiated, rumor has gained new life in the wake of a controversial Federal Court Decision that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. But this newer version contains much more misinformation than its predecessors.
SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT
Subject: Pepsi Products
For those who have not heard, the bottlers/manufacturers of Dr. Pepper and their other products, have started a "new" can campaign. They are putting patriotic scenes on them. One, is the Empire State Bldg. with the pledge of allegiance...but... they left off the words..."under God." They felt it might "offend" some.
I don't know about you, but as a Christian, I am boycotting their products! They said they didn't "have room" for those words, but yet they had room for indivisible" on the can! Please pass this along to others and see if we can get a message out to DR. Pepper ....if having "under God" on cans offends them, then they don't need our money with "in God we trust" on it !!!!
PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION ON TO YOUR FRIENDS!
END CHAIN LETTER TEXT
In late 2001/early 2002, several Dr. Pepper distributors asked the makers of Dr. Pepper to create a special, limited edition patriotic can to cater to a heightened sense of patriotism following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. The resulting can design - which, indeed omitted the words "under God" - gained some media attention. Several chain letters immediately began circulating calling for all Christians to show their outrage at what seemed to be political correctness gone too far.
Because it was based largely on misinformation and misunderstanding, that rumor quickly faded, but a recent U.S. Federal Court ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, resurrected it. This time, however, a heavy dose of assumptions, mistakes and flat-out lies have elevated it to urban legend status and given it far more exposure than it deserves. Yes, it's based on true events, but the latest versions of this chain letter are so far removed from the original controversy that they can safely be labeled "lies." Here are a few problems with the chain above:
Dr. Pepper is not a Pepsi Product. The Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up Corporation is a division of London-based Cadbury-Schweppes. Though Dr. Pepper is distributed by Pepsi distributors in many parts of the U.S., the Pepsi Cola Company has nothing to do with the bottling of Dr. Pepper or the design of its packaging.
Later versions of the chain completely omit references to Dr. Pepper, falsely identifying Pepsi as the beverage in the offensive container - A beautiful demonstration of how easily misinformation is created.
Dr. Pepper did produce a controversial patriotic can, but this is not a "new" campaign. They printed 41 million limited-edition cans from November, 2001 to February, 2002. The can was only distributed to a few markets that requested it and disappeared from most shelves by April, 2002.
The Dr. Pepper promotion included one can design with only one patriotic scene: the Statue of Liberty, not the Empire State Building (click here to see it).
The cans included only 3 words of the 31-word Pledge of Allegiance: "One Nation... Indivisible"
Dr. Pepper's word choice had nothing to do with a fear of offending someone and everything to do with trying to express a national mood in a limited space.
Read this earlier article to see the can and Dr. Pepper's official explanation of it. Break this Chain!