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?