P&G Apologizes For Unintentional Neo-Nazi Codes On Laundry Detergent In Germany

When you’re a global company, you’re going to have global problems. But perhaps there could’ve been a few more eyes/brains on a packaging campaign for Ariel laundry detergent from Procter & Gamble in Germany that featured a large white soccer jersey with a large “88” on them. See, because that’s a neo-Nazi code, if you’re in the know.

Clearly P&G wasn’t quite attuned to the finer details of neo-Nazi culture, where those in the know use numbers as codes to get around the ban on Nazi slogans in public.

As the Associated Press explains, “88” is a code for HH, or “Heil Hitler,” as the letter H comes eighth in the alphabet. Similarly, bottles of Ariel with the number “18” are also at issue, because it could stand for “A.H.” or Adolf Hitler.

The company is now apologizing and promising to pull the products, saying “any false connotations” were unintentional after customers complained. A spokesperson said the “88” and “18” designations were meant to convey how many load of laundry a buyer could do with one package.

“We very much regret if there are any false associations and distance ourselves clearly from any far-right ideology,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement.

Detergent pulled in Germany over neo-Nazi code [Associated Press]

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  1. OrionBFury says:

    While I get the need for sensitivity, this almost feels like a bit much. On a small segment of one sport, that being hall of fame members for a league in America hat plays the sport of football (American style), 7 players had Jersey #88 and 5 had #18. Were they secret Nazis? What about Cultures from Eastern Asia? I know of at least one that views the number 4 as bad luck? Did the 2 hofs wish themselves ill will? There is also no #69 in the hof, so maybe then the hof discriminates against players who may have that number?

    Or am I just comically (or not comically) missing the point?

    • GnRJosh says:

      In Germany they have a VERY strict anti-Nazi propaganda policy. They don’t want ANYBODY celebrating those dark times. This seems like overkill to us, but over there it’s serious business to eradicate anything that could be construed as supporting Nazism or the neo-Nazi movement. My great aunt and uncle are from Munich and talk at length about this. It all sounds like the “He who must not be named” crap from Harry Potter…..pretend it didn’t exist and the wounds will heal.