Liquid Death, what a killer name for a brand of water! Recently, Liquid Death teamed up with Netflix for Zach Snyder’s Army of the Dead (review). As part of their advertising Liquid Death released their “No Brainer,” part hat, part koozie that not only keeps your water cold but is also a hat that protects your brain from those pesky zombies. It’s a trip! I decided to dive into the brand and discovered a great company on a serious mission, to lower plastic pollution. I spoke with Mike Cessario, founder and CEO of Liquid Death, who is a former Netflix creative, to learn more about the company.
Kelli McNeely: “How did Liquid Death come to be?”
Mike Cessario: “Liquid Death was essentially the perfect combo of my love for music, art, comedy, and health, along with my passion and experience for pushing the boundaries of marketing and advertising to make it suck less. I was tired of all the unhealthy brands across beer, energy drinks, and junk food doing all the funniest and most entertaining marketing and branding. All the truly healthy or sustainable brands always seemed to talk to a very narrow audience and in a very boring way.”
Kelli McNeely: “The name is awesome. How did you cook that up?”
Mike Cessario: “We wanted something truly funny and unique. Something that people would see and in 2 seconds would know there were real human beings behind this company with a sense of humor. Also, as a small brand in the beverage category dominated by giants like Coke and Pepsi, a small brand’s only chance at survival is to be insanely sharable on social and something people want to talk about with their friends, without you having to pay them to do it.”
Kelli McNeely: “I get what you are saying. I love that not only is the water itself is awesome, but it’s also backed by a good cause, and that 10% of your profits go to ending the plastic crisis. Tell us about your mission?”
Mike Cessario: “Plastic is basically the new tobacco. And most people aren’t aware that plastic isn’t actually recyclable. When you put your plastic in the blue bin, it goes to a recycling facility and then is sent to a landfill because plastic is not economically viable to recycle. Recycling facilities would go out of business trying to recycle it. But aluminum is infinitely recyclable and makes a profit for recyclers. Beyond our cans, we work closely with nonprofits to help us bring #DeathToPlastic and donate a portion from every can sold to organizations that are fighting plastic pollution and bringing clean drinking water to those in need.”
Kelli McNeely: “I don’t think most people understand how dangerous plastic can be. Just look at the ocean creatures that are affected by it. Your plushies are a brutal and graphic reminder of that. Your merch store is wild and really drives home the message that plastic is dangerous on so many levels. Can you tell us a little about your merch and its purpose?”
Mike Cessario: “Our approach to merch is similar to a band, their product is music, but they know merch is a huge part of building a following of loyal fans, which goes far beyond just listening to their music. When we think about Liquid Death, it’s not just how we can sell water, but how can we create experiences and other things they love that are still connected to our brand and spirit. For us, merch isn’t just an afterthought that we slap a logo on. We put a lot of thought and hard work into our merch, and even making our own albums that we press on vinyl.”
Kelli McNeely: That’s fantastic. Everything about your brand stands out, like the art on the can. Who designed that?”
Mike Cessario: “One of our early partners in the brand is Will Carsola, the co-creator of the Adult Swim cartoon “Mr. Pickles”. Will is our main creative partner in the Liquid Death and he created a lot of our brand assets like the skull on the can and the funny copy on the side of the can. I was a huge fan of the show, so I just DMed him on Instagram, told him I’m a big fan, and that I have a project in the works that I thought he’d be interested in. Luckily, he actually responded and dug the concept for the brand. He’s been amazing to work with and we have so much other fun Liquid Death stuff in the works for the future.
Kelli McNeely: “Really? That’s awesome! I’m a big fan of “Mr. Pickles”! That show trips me out. Speaking of entertainment, Liquid Death recently teamed up with Netflix for Army of the Dead. Can you tell us about that?
Mike Cessario: “Netflix loves creativity and marketing that doesn’t feel like marketing, which is very much in line with our whole approach at Liquid Death. So the partnership made a ton of sense, especially when it came to a co-branded campaign for a title like Army of the Dead. It was a match made in brain-eating heaven.
Kelli McNeely: “I received one of your promotional items for the film, the No Brainer. I love it. It is hilarious! I sat eating popcorn, watching Army of the Dead, wearing it. The infomercial y’all made for it had me laughing my butt off.”
Kelli McNeely: “I love the water too by the way. It tastes great and I think the can allows the water to get colder faster. Another great thing, it helps you cool down. It’s hot as satan’s balls out there and we need all the help we can get. So, I know why I would choose Liquid Death, but tell our readers why they should.
Mike Cessario: “Because it’s really fun to trick people into thinking you or your kids are pounding beers in public when you are really just drinking the healthiest thing on the planet out of a far more sustainable container than plastic.”
Kelli McNeely: “True story, a neighbor saw me in the yard with a can of the mountain water in the white tallboy can, they were shocked because they thought I was drinking a beer (I don’t drink). Several people had to stop and check out the can.”
Liquid Death is the kind of company we can get behind, it’s badass with an important message. Do yourself a favor and head over to the Liquid Death site and try some of their products for yourself, like their mountain water, their sparkling water, or grab a plushie, clothing, decals, koozies, or your own No Brainer. And “Murder your thirst!”