Fact Check

'SEX' in Pepsi Cool Cans

Those looking for hidden messages in product packaging found that two of Pepsi's 1990 'Cool Cans' spelled out the word 'S-E-X'

Published Aug 15, 2002


Claim:   Stacking two of Pepsi's special 1990 "Cool Cans" spelled out the word "S-E-X."


Origins:   For a limited time during the summer of 1990 (Memorial Day through the Fourth of July), Pepsi distributed its flagship soft drink in four specially-designed "Cool Cans" as part of a promotional campaign. The four designs included confetti, neon, sunglasses, and surfer motifs:

Sex! Sex! Sex! Sex!

It wasn't long before someone came up with a new version of the Pepsi Challenge: find the secret word S-E-X by stacking one neon Pepsi can on top of another. Well, sort of ... if you twisted the top can to the right, the bottom one to the left, and kind of squinted, you could make out a word that looked like 'S-E-X,' with the loop of the first 'P' forming half an 'S', the 'E' missing its bottom half, and the second 'P' crossed by a neon bar that makes it look like an 'X.' Of course, it really helped if you knew what you were supposed to be looking for in advance:


Whew! Sex wasn't half so hard to find when Disney hid it.

As for any thoughts that the whole "hidden sex message" thing was intentional, a Pepsi advertising manager noted "The cans were designed to be cool and fun and different; something to get the consumer's attention," but Pepsi spokesman Tod MacKenzie maintained the message was "nothing more than an odd coincidence," pointing out the neon can was selected only because consumers had indicated during market testing they preferred it over hundreds of other potential "Cool Can" designs.

Last updated:   30 November 2014

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.