Detergent made by Procter & Gamble and sold in Germany has started an uproar as the emblem on the packages represent a neo-Nazi code in Germany. The Ariel Detergent packages were not meant to refer to Hitler, but the two numbers used "88" and "18" were seen as the code that is now used in that country for the evil dictator's name, according to ABC News on May 9.
When pictures of the Ariel Detergent packages started showing up online coming from outraged consumers, Procter & Gamble was quick to reply with the number was "unintentionally ambiguous." It seems the ban on anything Nazi or Hitler related in Germany has prompted codes popping up for people to use in public and express their allegiance to the evil regime.
The Ariel Detergent package sports a white soccer jersey with the number "88" on the front. The company used that number to show how many loads of laundry the package would do, but to the people in Germany that "88" meant something much filthier than laundry.
Far-right extremists in Germany often use the number as a code because anything that refers to Hitler or his regime is banned. Using "88" lets those people who still want to refer to Hitler do so under the radar of the law. "88" represents that horrific phrase, "Heil Hitler."
The package that the Arial Detergent put their liquid product in has the same jersey with the number "18" on the jersey. This is because the liquid detergent does 18 loads of wash. The number "18" is a code for the far-right extremists. This means "A. H." or Adolf Hitler.
The Consumerist suggests that:
"Clearly Procter & Gamble 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."
This code is explained as the numbers standing for the chronological order of the alphabet letters. The letter "A" is the number "1" letter in the alphabet and the letter "H" stands for the letter that sits at number "8" in the alphabet. "A.H." is "18" for these extremists, which stands for Adolf Hitler. Then the "88" stands for "H.H." or "Heil Hitler."
Procter & Gamble addressed the issue on Friday:
"We very much regret if there are any false associations and distance ourselves clearly from any far-right ideology," company spokeswoman Gabi Hassig said in a statement. The number "88" was intended to show how many loads of laundry buyers would be able to do with one package."
The company is no longer shipping the detergent in the offensive packaging. It was a total coincidence on the company's part that the amount of laundry loads their two products (liquid and powder) are projected to do had to be the two number amounts that represent a type of worshiping a vile and evil man.
It doesn't seem fair somehow that those numbers are now claimed by the neo-Nazi groups. By taking the numbers off the market, it only strengthens their cause. It is almost like giving up and society allowing them to use those numbers for their very own agenda.
Maybe if folks just ignored their attempts at codes, it would have just eventually gone away? The outrage probably left Procter & Gamble without much choice, but if people didn't validate the use of those numbers by acknowledging that is what they stand for, they would eventually lose their strength.