German supermarket giant denies using neo-Nazi symbols in Christmas ad

Edeka is seldom far from controversy when it comes to promoting its stores...

Edeka, Germany's largest supermarket chain, has dismissed suggestions that it purposely included neo-Nazi symbolism in its new Christmas ad.

The promo for the retailer's festive range includes two cars displaying codes which neo-Nazis use to identify themselves to each other.

One Volvo bears the number plate MU SS 420, even though "SS" is forbidden on number plates in Germany due to its connection with the Nazis' paramilitary Schitzstaffel group.

The number 420, meanwhile, is commonly used in neo-Nazi groups to represent Adolf Hitler's birthday of April 20th.

Sabine Bamberger-Stemmann, director of Hamburg's agency of civil education, says she is convinced that the far-right references were deliberately included.

Talking about the second plate, she told Manager Magazin:

"The 420 comes from the Anglo-Saxon area, but in rightwing circles here [in Germany] it's also the established abbreviation for Hitler's birthday.

"The '84' clearly stands for Heil Deutschland. The statement being made is very clear."

Edeka has denied that the symbolism was deliberate with a spokesman telling German media:

"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."

Bamberger-Stemmann has rejected this explanation, stating:

"I don't believe it's a faux pas, as some people are suggesting on the internet. Considering the number of far-right codes accumulated here, that is disarming and implausible."

She added that not only was the symbolism intended, but that the advert attempted to "convey an idyllic world, thereby conveying values that the new right stands for."

Last year, Edeka made headlines – and raised the ire of many viewers – with a Christmas ad that featured an elderly man faking his own death in order to get his family to visit his home.

Whilst it racked up big numbers on YouTube, it was deemed tasteless and manipulative on social media.