Back in 2013, German detergent company Henkel released a toilet freshener bar called the Bref Duo Stick. In the design world, not even the color of the soap you drop into your toilet bowl is left up to random chance -- the product designers claim that the blue color and the wavy pattern represent the cleansing nature of water, while the yellow represents the fresh lemon-scented goodness.
To some, the colors suggest bruises and urine, but there's no pleasing everyone.
See this proud bastard flapping alongside the Henkel urine-wedge?
Gleb Garanich/Reuters, selensergen/iStock/Getty Images
No, not the proud flapping bastard on the left. We're talking about the flag.
That's the flag of Ukraine. Oh, don't worry -- this product wasn't marketed to Ukraine. But then start worrying again, because it was marketed in Russia.
As you might know if you've taken a European history class or watched the news, or if you're generally aware of the abstract concept of wars or hatred, Russia and Ukraine aren't exactly on speaking terms. And yet boredom is the great equalizer, so many Ukrainians still watch Russian television. When ads for something you put in your toilet that looks exactly like the national symbol of Ukraine -- it's not just the colors; it's even goddamn flag shaped -- start running on Russian TV, folks just might start reading into it.
Henkel, not wishing to go down in history as the company that started World War III over toilet bowl freshener, immediately ceased production of the product. Sure, national integrity was preserved and conflict averted, but piss collectors all throughout Eastern Europe are now tragically absent the refreshing stink of citrus. Peace, but at what cost?
Related Reading: The amount of corporate boners is endless. Once upon a time, Abercrombie & Fitch had the whole racism thing locked down. Then there's the time Adult Swim caused a bomb scare. And never forget the time a giant beach ball terrorized London.
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