World of Sport

Football deal backfires as Ariel forced to withdraw ‘Nazi-themed’ washing powder

World of Sport

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Ariel's inadvertently Nazi-themed packaging

The makers of Ariel washing powder have pulled their product off shelves in Germany after inadvertently launching packaging carrying accidental Nazi imagery.

Ariel decided to mark a sponsorship deal with the German national team ahead of the World Cup by launching a giant-sized washing powder box made to look like a Mannschaft shirt.

Naturally enough, on the back of the box they put 'Ariel' where the player's name would be, and the number 88, referring to the number of washes customers can get from the powder in the box.

Both those decisions proved to be big, big mistakes and provoked howls of outrage.

The number 88 is apparently a well-known Neo Nazi reference to 'Heil Hitler': 88 is used as it's akin to 'HH', since H is the eighth letter of the alphabet.

That alone might not have caused such outrage, but it turns out that the word 'Ariel' is just one letter off the word 'Arier', which is German for the Aryan race.

On top of that, a line on the back of the back apparently boasted of the "new concentration" - a reference to the more concentrated powder which gets you more washes from the same size box. Given the other elements of the box, however, it could start looking like a reference to concentration camps.

Ariel's makers, the giant multinational Proctor & Gamble, were absolutely mortified when told of the series of unfortunate coincidences that led to most tasteless bit of washing powder box design since Radion Automatic.

They immediately pulled the box from the shelves, cancelled all future deliveries, and issued an apology via their Facebook page.

Here is P&G's statement: "P&G is committed to the values of tolerance, respect, diversity and humanity. We regret if people came to see the wrong associations and we resolutely dissociate ourselves from any right-wing (Nazi) body of thought."

We all make mistakes - even World of Sport - so well done to P&G for acting so swiftly to put right this most unfortunate howler.

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