This is one of those blogs that takes a minute or two....to explain something that is a bit 'winded'....because of German logic.
You see....after WW II.....German authorities got busy into the anti-Nazi thing. You weren't supposed to have any flags around....no recognized references.....no copies of Mein Kampf....etc. Among all of these.....there was the issue of the raised right hand and the 'heil Hitler' reference that would accompany it.
It's an odd thing....you can't find too many German habits or traditions that start up before the 1930-era, where greetings are invented out of thin air. Somewhere with the Brownshirts, this raised hand episode starts, and becomes a quick trend. Women do it. Kids do it. Old guys do it. As the war ends, the raised right hand gimmick comes to an end. Well....it was supposed to come to an end.
What you see today is the neo-Nazi crowd who picked up on this raised right hand deal, and tried to keep it going. Course, it'll get you into trouble.
Germans are always inventive, so they took 'heil Hitler' and came to this new gimmick of '88'. H is the eight letter, and it represents 'heil', and the second eight represents 'Hitler'. So you meet and greet each other with '88'. Yeah, I know....it's a pretty contrived game of getting around the German authorities.
So, why does this matter? Well....if you walked up to ninety-percent of the German public and asked what '88' means.....they'd have practically no idea. The authorities? Oh, they know.
In comes this US company with a detergent deal.....which had a big '88' on the front of the package. P&G, our own US company.....had this packaging gimmick. Basically, you were going to get the old 83 washes out of the container, AND then FIVE more extra washes for free. So '88' got spelled out in big letters on the front of this wash powder container.
Yeah, really. I know it sounds pretty goofy, but it's the truth.
And almost immediately upon arrival....the '88' got noticed and got into the news....inviting the German authorities all over P&G. You can imagine some graphic arts designer....getting this call and being told he put up a Nazi salute on the package.
There's an apology coming from P&G, and this will apparently end the episode. The '88' crowd? Well....not much of anything said.....I even doubt that they noticed the detergent package. How did Hitler and detergent get into one discussion? Only in Germany is it possible.