Friday, June 14, 2024
Friday, June 14, 2024

HomeFact CheckNo, Pepsi didn’t change its design to support Palestine

No, Pepsi didn’t change its design to support Palestine

Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
The Israeli company PEPSI has changed the design to avoid boycott and modified its designs to feature Palestine culture.

Fact
Pepsi launched two of its products with a new look to reflect Palestinian heritage to thank their Palestinian customers in August 2023  as part of its ‘Pepsi Taste Challenge’ campaign, prior to the recent Israel-Palestine conflict. The Israel-Hamas war started on 7, October 2023.

Courtesy: X @rulduff

Amidst the large-scale armed retaliation by Israel on Gaza following the terrorist attack by Hamas early on October, there are multiple posts on social media asking users to boycott products that have links to Israel or that are sympathetic to Israel. One such post features images of Pepsi products with designs reflecting Palestinian heritage. This image is being shared with the claim that the ‘Israeli Pepsi company’ altered its packaging in a show of support for Palestine, possibly in an attempt to prevent a boycott due to the ongoing war. The post further mentions “Do not fall for this deception. Continue the boycott of both PEPSI and COKE brands”, with the hashtag ‘boycottpepsi’. Some of the posts with such a claim can be seen here and here.

The post has been shared by many Facebook users with similar claims, few of which can be seen here, and here.

Fact Check/Verification

Firstly, Pepsi is not an Israeli company, as mentioned in the viral claim, but it is an American company. In 1898, pharmacist Caleb D. Bradham changed the name of his formula from “Brad’s Drink” to “Pepsi-Cola” after purchasing the name “Pep Kola” from a local competitor. The details can be checked by clicking here.

Newschecker then conducted a Google and Yandex reverse image search to ascertain the fact of the viral post, during which we came across several links that carried the viral image. One such link, which carried a post made by V Palestine on August 17, 2023, featured two images of Pepsi products. One of these products had a blue-colored packaging, while the other featured a black-colored packaging, both adorned with heritage-inspired designs. The caption of the post read, “Pepsi Gaza unveils fresh product designs, highlighting Palestinian culture and heritage.”

The image of the Pepsi product with heritage-inspired packaging has been online since August 2023, predating the recent conflict that started on October 7, 2023. This suggests the Pepsi package with Palestinian heritage designs was not introduced after the recent conflict began to ensure it did not face boycott.

We further conducted another keywords search on the words ‘PEPSI’ ‘changed the design’ & ‘Pepsi Palestine’, which also revealed that the image was not recent. We learnt that all design-related work for Pepsi is carried out by an advertising company called Dragon Studio, which is also mentioned in their website. Dragon Studios had actually shared this product design as part of the “Pepsi Taste Challenge” campaign on August 16, 2023.

It’s worth noting that Mada News published a news report about the “Take the Pepsi Taste Challenge” campaign, which featured the viral photo. This report was released on August 14, 2023.

“Mr. Hatem Al-Omari, General Manager of the Modern Soft Drink Bottling Group “Pepsi”, confirmed that the company’s management, through the new form of its product, which it launched recently, wanted to say “thank you” to the Palestinian citizens who participated in the campaign to take on the Pepsi Taste Challenge, adding that 58% of those who chose They took on the Pepsi taste challenge, which is their confirmation of the quality and taste of Pepsi in general,” the report read.

Apart from that we have tried to contact PRO PepsiCo to verify the claim. We will provide an update once we receive a response from them.

Conclusion

The claim that the Israeli company Pepsi changed its product design to avoid a boycott and added “Palestine” to it is false. Pepsi launched the new design reflecting Palestinian heritage as part of the “Pepsi Taste Challenge” campaign in August 2023, well before the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, 2023.

Result: False

Our Sources:
1. Report published by Mada News, dated August, 14, 2023
2. Dragon Studio
3. Report published by siasat.com


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Authors

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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