I eat a lot of soup for lunch when I’m at work. (Let’s face it; I’m not responsible enough for weekly meal prep.) And I’m known for eating soup. Even in the summer. From a giant soup mug that Adam warns everyone about.


Well, the other day I walked into the kitchen and noticed someone else’s weird, giant can of soup. It’s not just me, I chuckled. And that one’s clearly not mine, because I never buy Progresso.

And because I’m terribly interested in behavioral economics, and advertising, and psychophysics, and focus groups and marketing I suddenly and surprisingly realized that I have NO good reason to not buy Progresso soup. I have NO good reason to buy Campbell’s soup, which has been my preferred brand for my whole life.

Any researcher will tell you that focus groups are dangerous because people really don’t know WHY they buy things. They can usually tell you the good reasons to buy X, but those aren’t necessarily THEIR reasons. For example, focus group answer for why participant Y purchases deodorant X for her husband: “It smells good, and it’s a trustworthy brand.” Truthful reason participant Y purchases deodorant X for her husband: “I had a boyfriend in college who wore that brand. Now I buy it for my husband.”


So why have I spent my entire adult life buying Campbell’s Soup? It’s because Andy Warhol made screen prints of Campbell’s Soup. Violently colorful, highly influential-to-a-fourth-grader prints of Campbell’s Soup. Sure, the soup is good. Sure, it’s a cheap lunch option. Sure, Campbell’s is a well-established brand that we all trust to make decent canned soup. But the real reason is because Andy Warhol practically sainted a can of Campbell’s tomato that made such an impression on me as a child that I am still giving them my money.

That’s a helluva case for brands looking to justify brand ambassadors who convey “third-party credibility.” Black Sheep always talks about how influential people who love your brand can be. They are enthusiastic. They are vocal. They are positive. They love your brand (or your service or your employees) so much that they encourage other people to love it, too.

Andy Warhol visibly loved Campbell’s Soup.

And by way of passing it on, I’ll remind you: January is excellent soup weather.

>Jo, @Jo_Layne