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  • Writer's pictureJudah Lind

The Rise of Liquid Death

Growing up in an oil boom town, I was constantly surrounded by blue-collar workers, and even worked in the oil industry myself for a time. While I was working long hours in a shop, I would watch my coworkers walk into work with a gas station bag filled with coffee, energy drinks, or even pre-workout powder, along with snacks to get through the day. It was seldom that I would see a large water bottle, or one at all, near my coworkers. For some of them, I wasn’t sure they even knew what water was. Drinking enough water has numerous health benefits, a statement I feel is often echoed by parents of teenagers. I’m being dramatic and I’m not a dietician, but this is a real problem. A problem that we do indeed see in the average teenager. Nearly 1/3rd of teenagers drink energy drinks regularly, and would reach for one before they reach for a bottle of water. 

Liquid Death is a product built on solving this exact problem, one it’s doing quite well. The popularity for this product started before a product was ever made. Mike Cessario came up with the idea for Liquid Death and shot a commercial with a 3D-rendered concept can, and it instantly became a viral sensation, attracting investors and potential customers. In the company’s first month back in 2020, they reported sales of $100,000.

"Liquid Death Can" by verchmarco is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This company has gotten teenagers and blue-collar workers to grab water instead of unhealthy alternatives, by making it exciting. Mike Cessario, CEO and founder of Liquid Death, saw that out of pocket and irreverent advertising was almost always used to promote unhealthy products. The likes of Monster, Red Bull, Doritos, Snickers, and Dos Equis all fall into that category, using humor and odd advertising to promote their product. With the tagline “murder your thirst,” irreverent advertising is one of the ways Liquid Death has broken into the over-crowded bottled water industry.

Another way Liquid Death broke into the industry is by tapping into moral values. ‘Death to Plastic’ has become one of its initiatives, focusing on the company’s core value of being sustainable. Aluminum cans are far easier to recycle than plastic bottles, in the same way that drinking water is far better for you than drinking other beverages. The company wants people to know that it values sustaining the consumer as much as it does our planet, which is another aspect of why Liquid Death is valued at $700 million just 3 years after it’s launch. Giving consumers a worthy cause to rally behind has furthered Liquid Death’s reach beyond teenagers and blue-collar workers, contributing to the $100 million in sales they did in 2022. 

How do you break into an over-crowded industry? You disrupt it. Through Irreverent advertising and branding, and a worthy cause to get behind, Liquid Death has emerged in an industry ruled by giants, and it’s on a quest to behead them.

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