A German supermarket chain stands accused of subliminal Nazi sympathies after eagle-eyed viewers noticed that its latest television advert depicted a car with the license plate number MU SS 420.
Edeka’s blunder was pounced upon by those who noted the initials SS are synonymous with Adolf Hitler’s paramilitary police force, the Schutzstaffel, which enforced the regimes edicts and cowed dissent.
Concerns were also raised at the apparently innocuous number 420, which is apparently used by far-right groups as shorthand for Hitler’s birthday, which fell on 20 April.
Conspiracy theorists also had a field day with the registration number SO LL 3849, displayed on another car. A Da Vinci Code-esque interpretation of the numbers 84, which could be read as representing eighth and fourth letters of the alphabet H and D, led some to arrive at the greeting ‘Heil Deutschland’.
Defending its choice of license plate Edeka insisted that the letters MU SS had been selected to spell out the word muss (must) as part of the ad’s messaging and that any Nazi connotations had not been their intent.
A spokesman said: “The number plate with ‘MU SS’ is a fantasy number plate, based on the title song in our spot. We regret the fact that a wrong impression is created here. This was in no way our intention.”
The tale has echoes of Jeremy Clakson’s ill-fated trip to Argentina in a car bearing the license plate H982 FKL.