Netflix guru who marketed hit show Stranger Things made millions selling water in a can called ‘Liquid Death’ – £1.99 product banned on Facebook after viral ad showing a man waterboarding
Liquid Death cans are accompanied by a slogan that urges us to ‘kill’ our thirst.
The words written on the can in an ominous gothic font are meant to shock: ‘Liquid death.’ An accompanying slogan urges us to ‘kill’ our thirst.
You might think it’s a new craft beer or an energy drink to rival the Monster range. Actually, liquid death is just water. And a five-litre bottle of Ashbeck mineral water costs £1.40, while a half-litre can of Liquid Death costs £1.99.
Still, the price doesn’t seem to put people off. Although the product is new to the UK, its American makers already have annual sales of around £100 million and claim to be the fastest growing non-alcoholic drinks brand of all time.
Also selling sparkling water and iced teas such as ‘The Grim Leafer’ and ‘Rest in Peach’, the company now has 2.2 million followers on Instagram – surpassing Pepsi’s 1.8 million.
According to the makers, Liquid Death’s ‘natural minerals and electrolytes’ are ‘good for your body’. Yet what really seems to be driving its success is the controversial marketing campaign masterminded by founder Mike Cesario.
The Liquid Death can is accompanied by a slogan urging us to ‘kill’ our thirst
Having worked on viral campaigns for Netflix shows including Stranger Things, Mr. Cesario knew the power of social media and launched the company with an ad on Facebook before selling a product.
Featuring a man waterboarding with a can of liquid death, the ad was soon banned by Facebook – but not before it had racked up three million views.
Another disturbing video was a later cartoon of a hiker being beheaded by an ax-wielding figure with a liquid death can for his head.
Blood then splatters everywhere as the same figure cuts an office worker in half, cuts off a skateboarder’s leg and forces a chef’s head into a food blender. ‘We don’t want to market, we want to make people laugh,’ Mr Cesario told the American business magazine Forbes.
Whether such scenes qualify as humor is debatable. But what environmentalists definitely don’t find funny is the claim that canned water helps the planet because aluminum packaging is easy to recycle.
One of Liquid Death’s slogans is ‘Death to Plastic’ and the firm proves as much that its cans are made from over 70 percent recycled material.
However, the environmental group Green Alliance notes that the remaining 30 percent still needs to be mined, producing a toxic byproduct called red mud, which is stored in huge reservoirs. In 2010, seven people died and 120 were burned after a leak from a red clay reservoir in Hungary.
The Green Alliance recommends that anyone who cares about the environment should choose tap water. But that certainly won’t help Liquid Death’s sales.
What really seems to be driving its success is the controversial marketing campaign created by founder Mike Cesario (pictured).
The makers claim that it is the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverage brand of all time
‘Don’t be afraid, it’s just water,’ says their slogan on a huge display in the window of a Whole Foods store in Kensington, west London, Liquid Death is one of the few British venues available so far – alongside Amazon and festivals such as Latitude, Leeds and Reading.
The Green Alliance says that if half of the UK’s plastic water bottles were replaced with cans, aluminum mining could generate 162,000 tonnes of toxic waste: enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall six times.
Now that’s really scary.
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