Procter & Gamble has apologized for "any false connotations" after stirring anger in Germany for unintentionally placing a neo-Nazi code on promotional packages for its Ariel laundry detergent.

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Procter & Gamble has apologized for “any false connotations” after stirring anger in Germany for unintentionally placing a neo-Nazi code on promotional packages for its Ariel laundry detergent.

Outraged shoppers had posted pictures online of Ariel powder boxes featuring a white soccer jersey with a large number “88.” 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.

Procter & Gamble acknowledged Friday that the number was “unintentionally ambiguous.”

“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.

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Haessig said the company has stopped shipping the offending powder, as well as a liquid detergent that was being promoted as “Ariel 18.” The number also represented the number of loads that could be done, the company said.

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