As if being accused of shredding shirts and turning boxer shorts into hoola skirts was not enough, Persil is now being accused of helping to cause the Second World War. According to a new urban myth, Persil was included in the Versailles Treaty in 1919.
As part of the ill-fated peace settlement, German chemical manufacturer Henkel handed Persil to Lever Brothers Europe for it to market the brand outside Germany. Henkel still markets Persil in Germany. The severity of war reparations against Germany has been widely accepted by historians as one of the contributing factors for the rise of Hitler and the outbreak of the Second World War.
However, Port Sunlight Heritage centre spokeswoman Elaine Hazelhurst says that there is no record in the Lever company files of Persil and the Versailles Treaty. If anybody has any knowledge of this, or indeed any other urban myths about brands, they will be gratefully received.