Those Whirlpool water heaters are AKA Craftmaster. Craftmaster is made by American water Heaters.
Home Quarters sold that,
Central Hardware sold that,
Builder's Square sold that,
Furrow's sold that.
Lowe's currently sells it and it's always cheaper than the competition. For every person that installs one, 4 will keep buying not knowing they have warranty options to cover the cost. In the grand scheme of things this means that they take their chances knowing that they can keep selling them and make money at doing so. The odds are in their favor.
That tank is the notorious for being the most inexpensive built tank, ever.
To give benefit of the doubt, hard water/high water pressure, lack of dielectrics, grounding issues..........do any of these play a part in its failure?