In 2012, JC Penney announced that it was going to try to attract the gay market. The company contracted with lesbian actress Ellen DeGeneres to advertise for the company. In addition to wooing the gay community, JC Penney also came out in support of same-sex marriage.
Much to their dismay, the move only fueled their downward spiral and by the end of 2012, their sales had dropped nearly 26%. The company even began installing automated checkouts to reduce the number of paid employees, but that didn’t help their financial woes either.
Now it seems that the company has launched a promotional advertisement that is drawing in the wrong kind of attention, which is the last thing they need. Motorists traveling on Interstate 405 near Culver City, California were surprised to see JC Penney’s huge billboard advertisement featuring a tea kettle that appears to look a lot like Adolf Hitler.
The Michael Graves Design Bells and Whistles Tea Kettle is gaining notoriety for its uncanny resemblance to the Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler. The handle forms the head with a gripper offset at the top that strongly resembles the combed hair of Hitler. The knob on the lid fits nicely for Hitler’s mustache. The tea spout with bell can be easily mistaken for the infamous German raised arm salute.
Motorists have been posting comments on several websites and social media sites. Some of the posts read:
“That Hitler looks like a kettle.”
“He even has his right arm extended.”
“I’m a little Nazi, short and stout.”
Whether due to a sudden rush of sales or because it was pulled by the company, the JC Penney website page for the tea kettle states:
“We are sorry, but this product is not available at this time.”
The JC Penney’s venture into gay advertising was a dismal failure. Their conversion to automated checkouts has not helped their financial situation either. Now, they spend who knows how much money on an advertising campaign that makes people think of Adolf Hitler more than the tea kettle pictured. One has to start wondering what mistake the company will make next and how much more they can endure financially before they are forced to close their doors for good.