Frank Chimero

Brand & Product Designer
Brooklyn, New York
⚠️ This post is old and may no longer reflect my views.

On Content

You ever order soup at a restaurant and get a bowl that’s mostly broth?

The problem is the register at the restaurant is four-hundred bucks under what it was the day before, and everyone is running around screaming “No one wants to buy our soup!” Then they start looking for different ways to distribute the soup. Do they buy new ladles? Would people like it if the ladles were fancier? “Let’s buy new bowls. People would enjoy the new bowls,” they say. Customers could choose the bowl that best fits their personality, or how they’re feeling that day, or whether they’re having the soup for lunch or for dinner.

Dots. The bowls need dots. And stripes. I bet people are either dot or stripe people. Let’s do a focus group. Maybe the soup could just be served in a pitcher, and then the customer could pour the soup into whatever they want: a bowl, a cup, their hat. Whatever! People will love it. The soup is really watery, so it pours really well.

Since they’re making less money now because they’re selling less soup, just to be safe, they’d better cut some costs. So, best to lay off part of the kitchen staff. But keep around the waiters to see if they can maybe convince some people that they should have some of this soup because now it comes in a new limited edition seasonal bowl with snowflakes and some scripty type saying something they don’t believe about making people feel warm on the inside. And, what about all those people at the door that pass by and don’t come in and buy the soup? Better charge people to look at the menu.

Would people want the soup if it came without a spoon? It could be called “undesigned” or “naked” soup.

But still, less people want the soup, and everyone gets confused, because if you were to walk by the restaurant and see people eating, the soup looks the same when it’s in the bowl, doesn’t it? But, everyone’s awkwardly slurping and we’ve got this look on our face like lunch isn’t filling us up.

Maybe they need to get all of their kitchen staff together and invent a whole new way to eat soup. Could we suck it through straws that are made out of crackers? Could we drink it out of a sippy cup? Is the spoon good enough? Are people tired of using spoons? Has the new generation moved on? Is this soup social enough? Maybe someone should innovate and give people better ways to share their soup with one another. Maybe they need to make a different kind of soup that people identify with, that customers feel is an extension of their personality that lies somewhere further right on the long tail of soups? Is our soup niche enough?

Is this soup aspirational enough? Does it represent people as they are, or people as they want to be? “How are we measuring our soup analytics?” they ask.

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. I’m just sitting here with a plate of tacos for lunch because I got tired of watery soup. But, you know, I’ll be hungry again in a couple hours. All I want is some better soup.