"They Live" at Pepsico?

Dear Straight Dope:

I was drinking a “Phantom Menace” Pepsi, and I noticed that the word “enslavement” was written on the corner of Darth Sidious’ hood. Hard to see, but definitely there. I pointed this out to my friend, who was drinking a Pepsi One, and we realized that that can (which had a picture of the Trade Fed representative) said “clouded” in a similar place. We had two 12 packs, and all the cans of each product were the same way.

Neither word seemed to have any relationship to the promotion or the product, and it seemed a little bizarre. We thoroughly debated the question, and the only answer we could come up with that seemed logical was that it was an effort to subliminally influence Pepsi drinkers, presumably to drink more Pepsi. Of course, given the nature of the messages, this is a little scary, a la the movie “They Live”.

My inquiry to Pepsico has so far gone unanswered, and I have been unable to find any information on the internet about the subject. But it is obvious enough that I find it hard to believe that we were the only ones to notice this. I am curious to know whether anyone has any other theories, or better yet hard answers, as to the purpose of the messages. Moreover, if it really IS subliminal advertising… is this ethical, or is it legal?

Each can has a secret clue. I am not sure if its a contest or not, but www.pepsi.com says that each can has the clue.


Each picture has a different word. I’m looking at a Mountain Dew can with Rune Haako on it, and he’s got the word “is” written at the edge of his hood, up near the top of his head.

I’m guessing that if you get one of every can, in numerical order, the words make a “secret” sentence.

I’m not a warlock. I’m a witch with a Y chromosome.

It’s a “secret” phrase, one word of which is on each can. If you don’t want to collect the whole set, the phrase is…

For more information than you ever wanted to know about the Star Wars Pepsi cans, check out

“You can’t run away forever; but there’s nothing wrong with getting a good head start.” — Jim Steinman

Dennis Matheson — Dennis@mountaindiver.com
Hike, Dive, Ski, Climb — www.mountaindiver.com

I’m drinking a Pepsi with little Anikan on it now, and I don’t see anything unusual. Does he have a secret word?

Man, will I be glad they get done with that promotion. This is the fourth time this question’s been asked since it started.