BERLIN: US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble said yesterday it had axed a promotional package for its popular Ariel washing powder in Germany which inadvertently featured a neo-Nazi code.
The company said it had stopped selling boxes marked with a white football jersey and “88” in large black letters earlier this week after a storm of protest on social media.
The number 88 is used by the far right in Germany to stand for the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler” because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet, thus circumventing Germany’s strict laws on banned political slogans and symbols.
Criticism online also focused on the advertising tagline “new concentration”, evoking the Nazi death camps, and the name Ariel’s resemblance to the word Aryan.
P&G Deutschland, the company’s German unit, responded to a reporter on Twitter: “A clear NO to far-right ideology — Ariel packages with unwanted ambiguity of ‘88’ have since Monday no longer been shipped”.