The Tea Kettle That Landed J. C. Penney in Hot Water

In 2013, J. C. Penny landed in hot water when a billboard advertised a tea kettle by designer Michael Graves. The sign had some wondering if they were being saluted by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler instead of waiting for tea to heat up. The billboard, located near the 405 freeway in Culver City, had readers questioning whether the similarity was just a coincidence. J. C. Penney made it clear that any resemblance was completely unintentional, repeatedly tweeting the clarification at those curious about a Hitler connection. “If we had designed it to look like something, we would have gone with a snowman or something fun,” the store tweeted at numerous followers. The $40 tea kettle, noted for it’s "cool-touch handle, space-saving design, and delightful whistle,” sold out online immediately. Any resemblance to Hitler certainly didn’t hurt the company’s business. In fact, it drew attention to a mundane item that might not have been quite the seller it turned out to be.