Henkel pulls toilet freshener – Ukraine had taken offence

UKRAINE – German consumer goods company Henkel has pulled their toilet freshener from production after people in Ukraine complained that it looked like the former Soviet republics flag. Though I doubt that was what Henkel were going for when they designed it. 

An employee shows a toilet freshener in the office of German consumer goods company Henkel in Kiev

The advert for the Bref Duo stick caught the attention of Ukrainians on TV last week when it initially began to run. In the ad, the yellow-and-blue freshener which is shaped like a small flag is put under the toilet rim.

“A delirious idea from uncultured people,” one person commented on the YouTube clip.

Tore Birol, Henkel’s general manager for laundry and home care products in Ukraine, told Reuters on Wednesday the company had pulled the product within three days of seeing the complaints starting to surface from the Ukraine. 

“We are very sorry if people were offended by the design of our new product,” he said. “We stopped the production, distribution and television advertising (of the product).”

Birol said the freshener, which had been marketed in central and eastern Europe but not in Ukraine, was colored yellow to represent its lemon scent and blue to symbolize water and hygiene. It was not intended to symbolise a former Soviet republic flag. 

Misuse of the symbols has become a sensitive issue in the Ukraine especially after earlier this month when it was discovered that Jared Hasselhoff, a bassist for American rock band Bloodhound Gang, had urinated on the Ukrainian flag during a gig in Kiev.

Ukraine has since launched a criminal probe against him and barred the musician from visiting the country for five years.

What do you guys think? Is this an over the top reaction from the Ukraine? Or are they right to react this way? Let us know in the comments below.



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