Imagine Procter & Gamble’s surprise when it found out two sizes of its Ariel detergent in Germany were linked to neo-Nazi rhetoric.
Some people who purchased Ariel laundry detergent were outraged to find either the number 88 or 18 emblazoned on a soccer jersey. While the company says those numbers represent the loads of laundry that can be done with the product, people familiar with neo-Nazi code thought it was a subversive attempt to show fidelity to the cause.
From USA Today
The number is sensitive because far-right extremists in Germany often use it as a code to skirt a ban on the use of Nazi slogans in public: since ‘H’ is the eighth letter of the alphabet, "88" represents the phrase “Heil Hitler.” Similarly, “18” is used to stand for “A.H.” or Adolf Hitler.
In a statement, the company said, "We very much regret if there are any false associations and distance ourselves clearly from any far-right ideology.”
The company has stopped shipping both items, presumably until it can change its packaging.