Procter & Gamble has launched a major campaign to dispel mounting rumors that the company, which makes Ivory Soap and Pampers diapers, is involved in devil worship.
Last fall, the Fortune 500 company began receiving 2,000 calls a month on the West Coast from consumers who said they heard a Procter & Gamble executive say on "The Phil Donahue Show" that the company's logo, a man-in-the-moon facing a cluster of 13 stars, represented the firm's ties to demonic worship.
"The moon and the stars represents only Procter & Gamble and has no other connection," said Kathy Gilbert, company spokesperson. "Some people think it's a satanical or occult symbol. It's purely coincidental if it's similar to anything else."
According to Gilbert, the stars represent the 13 original colonies and the bearded man-in-the-moon was a character added in 1851. The Cincinnati-based company, which boasts annual sales of more than $11 billion from its many soap and detergent products, has begun sending letters to West Coast newspapers and television and radio stations explaining the trademark. The mailing also includes a letter from the Donahue show saying no Procter & Gamble executive ever appeared to discuss Satan worship.
"A lot of consumers calling in are indicating they are hearing the rumor at their church," Gilbert said, "so we intend to try to contact regional or national church leaders of various denominations and ask their help in stopping the rumors."
Frazzled company executives are still smarting from a 1980 story, spread primarily in southern Minnesota, that the moon-and-stars logo indicated the company had been taken over by Moonies, followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.