I've seen the ECB Penguin used to demonstrate why ECB is not a recommended method of encryption, but I do not understand how this translates to text or passwords.
Aren't the people who create these images comparing apples and oranges?
It illustrates the point that the same plaintext going in to the cipher will result in the same ciphertext. It just happens to be a lot better example than showing someone
Now, what does this mean in the real world? If I gave you an email encrypted with AES-128 ECB, could you look at it and figure out the plaintext? Most likely not. If, however, I gave you a ciphertext from a long book and told you it is the encryption of one of 100 books, could you figure out which book it is? Probably.
So, comparing apples and oranges? In some ways yes, in others no. I think though that the point people who show this are driving home is that there are stronger modes which are much more likely to lead to a secure system. Sure ECB could be used to develop a system which is secure, but it would take a lot of analysis to convince an expert of that.
While there were several issues contributing to the scale of the compromise, one of them was that Adobe, instead of properly hashing the passwords, encrypted them using ECB mode instead. Even though the attackers apparently did not get the encryption key (or, if they did, they chose not to disclose it), this still exposed several weaknesses that made the passwords much easier to guess: