Is this how the name Pepsi was formed?

Example of the claim

  • 18
    While I'm not aware of the origin of this particular idiocy (some random conspiracy theory nut), the fact that Pepsi Co refused to do business in Israel in fear of Arab Boycott since 1960s (or earlier) till 1992 should show exactly how much thought should be spared on the idea. – user5341 Mar 17 '12 at 15:28
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    Sounds like an anti-semetic scare story to try to get people to hate Jews. – Rory Mar 17 '12 at 17:54
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    See snopes.com/cokelore/israel.asp – mgb Mar 17 '12 at 18:54
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    It is surprisingly easy to find acronyms like this that will suggest just about anything you like, especially if you are willing to drop out words. Note that the name Pepsi was not Peptsi. So off the cuff, maybe PEPSI actually stands for... "Politicians Easily Pilfer Saved Inheritances". Or pick your own acronym, designed to insinuate or insult anything you like. – user3344 Mar 18 '12 at 12:28
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    And let's remember that Pepsi predates the state of Israel by about forty years. – DJClayworth Mar 19 '12 at 17:17

No. This is an urban legend.

The name Pepsi-Cola has been around since about 1898.

An archival page from the Soda Museum (via Wikipedia) explains:

Cola is a term based on the African kola nut and it was used for its caffeine content. Caleb's drink didn't contain either the kola nut or any caffeine, but it did taste pretty close to the already popular "Coca-Cola" and that was the reason for using the term "Cola" in its name. The "Pepsi" part of the Pepsi-Cola name comes from pepsin, an enzyme which aids in digestion and was also a popular ingredient in early soft drinks (and chewing gum). There has been some dispute as to whether or not the original Pepsi-Cola actually contained pepsin as an ingredient.

The term "Pepsi" in its name is surely an indicator. One of Pepsi-Cola's earliest known advertisement is found in the Feb. 25th, 1903 New Bern Daily Journal, and one of it's claims was that it "Aids Digestion" -- a popular claim for items containing pepsin. Lastly, another newspaper ad produced in 1908 flatout said "PEPSI-Cola is an absolutely pure combination of pepsin -- that's what your stomach needs these days -- acid phosphate and the juices of fresh fruits." (However, it is a fact that by 1923 Pepsi-Cola no longer contained pepsin as an ingredient).

This explains two things that contradict the original claim:

  1. Pepsi-cola is named after Pepsin, not a political slogan.

  2. Even if it wasn't named after Pepsin, it was named over 50 years before the formation of the State of Israel, meaning the slogan would have been meaningless at the time.

Photo of 1930s Pepsi-cola bottle[Source: Soda Museum]

A picture of a bottle of Pepsi-Cola from the 1930s, showing the brand pre-dates Israel.

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    Just a minor comment - the name Israel predates the country, which means that the timing does not make it impossible. Still is an urban legend (e.g. Pepsi participated in the arab boycott against Israel). – Ofir Oct 28 '14 at 8:53
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    You can't 'save' something that doesn't exist. If there had been such a slogan in 1898 it would have been "Pay Every Penny to Create Israel". – DJClayworth Oct 28 '14 at 13:14
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    @DJClayworth: "Israel" can also refer to the Jewish people as a whole, so the proposed expansion would have made sense prior to the creation of the modern state of Israel. – Nate Eldredge Oct 29 '14 at 6:55
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    "pre-dates Israel" – doesn't seem right, because it only predates modern state of Israel. Concept of Israel dates back 1050BCE (Kingdom of Israel). And even more modern idea of Jews reclaiming "the Land of Israel" – Zionism, was established in 1897. While I do believe claim to be ridiculous, you cannot claim so just based on the dates. – vartec Oct 31 '14 at 2:28

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