My friend Lindsay Mask, Founder of Ladies America, sent along an interesting HBR "Daily Stat" article to me, which came from a paper entitled "Can Our Favorite Products Provide Emotional Support?" The study showed people making positive emotional attachments to a new sparkling water brand that they consumed while watching a horror movie. This is very intriguing although I would caution that it may be a risky proposition to try to emulate in a real-life marketing campaign.
However, when a brand is expressed correctly, it takes on manifestations of a real-life character. I often say, to drill down to what a brand is about is to ask, "What do people think about when they think about X?" ("X" being the brand in question). So in this case, because the brand has a "personality" it makes some sense that one might positively attach oneself to a "person" that one went through an ordeal with. One may derive comfort and trust from the "shared" suffering. Just don't give your Pellegrino its own seat at your support group; that would be weird.