It sounds like Liquid Death has convinced investors with its promise to "kill your thirst" – the startup announces that it has raised $ 9 million in Series A funds.
Liquid Death sells water in a Tallboy aluminum can and extends the range with a sparkling can, which should be delivered from March. A 12-pack of normal or bubbly mountain water is currently priced at $ 18.99 on the Liquid Death website.
Co-founder and CEO Mike Cessario has worked as a creative director and copywriter at companies like VaynerMedia and told me that his goal is to create a brand that is healthy and sustainable and "as exciting if not more exciting than energy" drinks, soda, Alcohol and sweets. "
Hence the slogan "Murder of your thirst" and a generally ironic marketing approach, including aggressive art influenced by heavy metals. The startup is expanding these efforts with a new "Keep the Underworld Beautiful" campaign, in which customers are asked to save hell themselves from plastic bottles.
"When you launch a new brand, when you don't have millions and millions of dollars to launch it." [advertising]Your only chance of survival is that the product itself must be incredibly divisible, ”said Cessario. "It will be difficult enough for you to finance the production. You won't have the money to compete with the Coke and Pepsis. The only way to get it out is when people do it organically because of the fun, disrespectful marketing want to share. "
As evidence that the news is resonating, the company states that there are at least 20 "random customers" who have received Liquid Death tattoos.
The emphasis on branding made me wonder if the water itself was a side note. Cessario replied that food and drink branding is the biggest differentiator because "consumers are not stupid". They don't really think that one product is dramatically better than the other. It's more about which brand you have an affinity for.
At the same time, when it comes to turning Liquid Death into more than a one-off novelty purchase, he said: “The most important thing is that someone who buys it likes to drink this water from a can. If they actually have an ice cold can of Liquid Death, people will keep coming back because they like the product experience. "
I will find that I have tried Liquid Death myself and can confirm that it is perfectly fine water. Above all, it is really fun and satisfying to break open a new can (but if you do, you also run the risk of getting suspicious or amused looks from your employees).
Cessario also argued that the brand is "so much more than just marketing, it's about sustainability." The company attaches great importance to the fact that its aluminum cans are made of more than 70% recycled material and that aluminum is "infinitely recyclable", which makes the packaging much more environmentally friendly than plastic bottles. Liquid Death also donates 5 cents for each can sold to charities such as 5 Gyres (for plastic pollution) and Thirst Project (which provides access to clean drinking worldwide).
The sustainability message has raised criticism of the fact that packaged water – even if it is in an aluminum can – is less sustainable than simply filling a reusable container with tap water.
"We are definitely not against reusable bottles," said Cessario when I mentioned that. "But the reality is, do you think it is possible to get 300 million people, people in the Midwest, to do this 100 percent? It's highly unrealistic."
Instead, he suggested that he be happy when people drink tap water from reusable bottles when it makes sense and can turn to Liquid Death at other times – "at a concert venue, when you have a house party, when you" I do I'm in a bar. "
Liquid Death's A series was led by Velvet Sea Ventures, a new company founded by Michael Lazerow, co-founder of Buddy Media. Ring founder Jamie Siminoff, TOMS founding members Jake Strom and Blake Mycoskie, GirlBoss founder / CEO Sophia Amoruso and Thrive Market CEO Nick Green participated as well as existing investors Science Inc. and Away co-founder Jen Rubio. Liquid Death has now raised a total of $ 11.25 million.
Cessario said most of the startup's revenue so far has come from either its website or Amazon, but one of the main funding goals is to get the water into brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, it is already taking a big step in that direction. Nationwide availability in Whole Foods stores is planned for next month.