Using Nazi slogans in public is forbidden in Germany. Neo-Nazis often tried to avoid this by using codes such as 88 and 18 which stand for “Heil Hitler” and “Adolf Hitler” since the 8th letter of the alphabet is 8 and the first one is A. Outraged shoppers posted photos of Ariel boxes featuring a large number “88” on a white soccer jersey on different social media networks where outrage began.
The presence of number 88 was not the only thing that lead to this outrage. Analysts believe another reason is that the word Ariel is just one letter away from the world Arier which means “the Ayran race” in German. Furthermore the text “new concentration” was boasted on a line on the back of the Ariel box. PG was of course referencing the more concentrated powder but given the other elements of the box people couldn’t stop thinking about a connotation to concentration camps.
P&G immediately pulled the box from stores and cancelled all other planned deliveries. Additionally it issued the following apology on the official company Facebook channel: “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.”