AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Anger erupted in the state capital today as citizens claimed that fraudulent marketing practices created a media frenzy around a new product release, codenamed "Vessel" by accused soup monopolist The Soup Peddler.

"It's just a big bowl of soup. It's the exact same thing as their previous soup, but bigger," said a visibly disappointed Soupie Carol Hatfield. "It doesn't even come to you warmed up."

The "Vessel" product unveiling on Wednesday afternoon at Jovita's was a who's who of insider media and foodies jostling for position to be the first to catch a glimpse of the new product. Expectations were stoked by nebulous guerrilla marketing stunts like soup spoons dangling from overpasses and clattering by the thousands down the capital steps.

To the raucous cheers of the expectant standing-room-only crowd, Ansel exulted, "Welcome to the next generation of soup. I bring you... Big Soup!" A stunned silence and quizzical expressions spread throughout the room. "Is this thing on?" asked Ansel.

"I feel like I've been played for a fool, I mean I used to trust The Soup Peddler to be a customer-oriented innovator but now I'm not so sure," said Blair Fox, a longtime customer.

Local marketing expert Laney Catledge said, "There's always a bit of smoke and mirrors involved with crafting and conveying a brand image, but I think The Soup Peddler went way too far this time. There was a sense that they were insulting the intelligence of the public."

As of press time, the owner of The Soup Peddler, David Ansel, is reportedly in retreat at his private island hideaway in Town Lake after the debacle and could not be reached for comment.