“The youth of today care more about health than ever. Even the fuck-you punk rockers and skateboarders,” ad agency creative director-turned-water disruptor Mike Cessario said last January. “They are even drinking less alcohol and getting less fucked up. But they still like explosions and extreme sports and heavy music and blowing zombie heads off in video games…[But] no healthy brands are actually trying to fit into real youth culture.”
Fast-forward 12 months and Cessario has figured out how to bottle all that fuck-you punk rock and zombie heads and…health into a canned drink that he’s calling Liquid Death. What’s in it? The exact same kind of Liquid Death that you use to brush your teeth, make your Cup Noodles, and bathe your dog.
Hell yeah, it’s motherfucking water. It’s water in special Austrian-made aluminum cans, complete with a stylized skull inked on the side of it, and a tagline—“Murder Your Thirst”—that your 13-year-old nephew thinks is sick.
“We started Liquid Death with the diabolical plan to completely obliterate bottled water marketing clichés by taking the world’s healthiest beverage and making it just as funny and stupid and entertaining as the unhealthy brands across energy drinks, soda, and beer,” the company’s website explains. (Oooooh, it's ironic?) Thus the skull, and the tagline, and the 12-pack of “tallboys” that sell for $19.99.
According to TechCrunch, bottled water was a $240 billion market in 2017, and it’s expected to continue growing. And according to an introductory video for Liquid Death, bottled water is also “a girly drink for yoga moms,” as evidenced by the hibiscus on Fiji Water bottles or whatever. Cessario and his partners—including Mr. Pickles creator Will Corsola and a man described as “heavy metal bartender”—are hoping that there are people who will order $1.85 cans of water online. And that those people include dehydrated teens who have been waiting, like, years for a dope can of water and men who have found themselves hesitant to hold a Fiji bottle in public.
(Yes, we’re taking the piss out of Liquid Death, because it’s obviously taking the piss out of the pre-fab attitude that every energy drink sells, and the unnecessarily defensive masculinity from the worst kind of beer ads. We’re all friends here).
Cessario told TechCrunch that the brand is admittedly a “lifestyle play,” which is why it may soon be sold in “select bars, barber shops and tattoo parlors” in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. So listen up cool kids who secretly crave the life-sustaining refreshment of H2O, now you can show that you care about staying properly hydrated without sacrificing any of your street cred.