Procter & Gamble has removed promotional boxes of its Ariel detergent from the shelves in Germany after it was brought to their attention that they has unwittingly included a neo-Nazi code.
The US consumer goods giant used the image if a white football shirt with “88” printed on it in large letters on the box and the tagline “new concentration”. However they had to pull the boxes from shelves across Germany after social media users pointed out the links between the number “88” and neo-Nazism and criticised the use of “concentration” on packaging that appeared to reference Nazism.
In order to circumvent Germany’s strict anti-Nazi laws, members of the far right in the country use the number “88” to refer to the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler”, with “H2 the eighth letter of the alphabet. They also use the number “18” to refer to Adolf Hitler.
P&G explained that they used “88” on the packaging because they wanted to point out that consumers could get 88 washes out of a box that size of detergent, and had no thought about the Nazi-connotations of the number.
P&G Deutschland said on Twitter:
“A clear NO to far-right ideology – Ariel packages with unwanted ambiguity of “88” have since Monday no longer been shipped”