KIEV Aug 14 German consumer goods company
Henkel has pulled a toilet freshener from the
eastern European market after Ukrainians complained it looked
like the former Soviet republic's flag.
A television advertisement for the Bref Duo Stick freshener
run in Russia (here)
caught the attention of Ukrainians - many of whom watch Russian
television - last week.
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
"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 coloured yellow to
represent its lemon scent and blue to symbolise water and
Misuse of state symbols became a sensitive issue in Ukraine
earlier this month, when the authorities found 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.
(Reporting by Sergei Karazy; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov, editing
by Elizabeth Piper)