As The Local reported on Wednesday, Statoil’s stations in Sweden are in the process of being rebranded as Circle K.
And everything was going according to plan until a 17-year-old Swede saw three new Circle K flags in a row and “immediately thought of the Ku Klux Klan”, he told newspaper Aftonbladet.
A picture he took of the petrol station caused much hilarity on the hugely popular Imgur picture-sharing site and on Reddit, where it was posted under the title:
“Somebody clearly didn’t think this through…”
“Or they did,” replied one mischief maker.
Another user elicited belly laughs with the comment:
I can only imagine the call from corporate?
“How many K flags are you flying, Sven?”
“Six, sir. 3 on each side.”
“So you have three K flags hanging in a row?”
“… I gotta go, sir. “
Circle K’s spokesman Johan Backman said he was aware the flags’ meaning could be misconstrued.
“We’re going to change how we flag to avoid interpretations,” he told the Nyheter 24 news site.
The company acted fast, and Reddit readers were soon treated to what appeared to be an old Statoil flag flanked by a pair of Circle Ks.
Circle K hopes the rebrand will make women and young people think more about tasty roadside treats and less about North Sea oil fields. And, of course, it wants them not to think even for a second about an American racist hood-wearing sect.