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A former Netflix creative director is trying to market canned water called Liquid Death to metalheads and punk rock fans, and his company of the same name just received $1.6 million in seed funding to do it.
The tallboys cost around $1.83, look rad or obnoxious depending on whom you ask, and will “murder Your thirst,” if the slogan in the YouTube ad Liquid Death launched Tuesday can be believed.
A bit of warning: The animated advertisement is as extreme as the demographic CEO and co-founder Mike Cessario plans to cater to. At one point, an anthropomorphic can of Liquid Death punches through a guy’s neck to take control of the car he’s driving before launching off a cliff and plowing over a live band.
Cessario cited his history in punk and metal scenes as the inspiration for the venture, according to an interview with Business Insider. He believes fellow fans will understand the brand’s sense of humor, while Liquid Death’s plan to donate 5 cents toward ocean clean-up efforts for every can sold will hopefully attract the more straight-edge crowd.
“[E]verything metal and punk is extreme,” Cessario said. “Being vegan is extreme, protesting the deforestation is extreme. There are more vegans at a heavy metal show than Taylor Swift show. We are by far the most sustainable option for packaged water, which is a big driver for why people want to buy from us.”
The $1.6 million investment came from startup incubator Science. Its co-founder, Peter Pham, on Tuesday called Liquid Death its fastest growing incubated company since Dollar Shave Club.
According to Liquid Death’s “About Us” section on its site, the company aims to poke fun at bottled water branding efforts while also promoting a more environmentally friendly alternative.
“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 site says. “Also, plastic water bottles are shit.”
While the company may have secured an impressive startup fund, reactions on Twitter remained mixed at best. Many users especially took issue with how easily Liquid Death racked up the funding given systematic struggles by minority- and women-led startups to do the same for efforts far more impactful than rebranding canned water.
The is the bulls*it side of Bro Culture in Silicon Valley - No problem funding ‘Liquid Death’ - plain water in a can - when women led start-ups only secure 2% of total VC funding https://t.co/GO7OaLVYn7— Eileen OS (@eosull) May 7, 2019
The Venn diagram of people who believe the climate will kill them in 12 years and people who drink water in a tallboy can labeled “Liquid Death” is a perfect circle.— Bridget Phetasy (@BridgetPhetasy) May 7, 2019
Funders will give $1.6 MILLION to a startup to put water in a tallboy can and sell it, calling it "Liquid Death."— The Human Utility (@humanutility) May 7, 2019
Meanwhile, the grandma in Detroit is going to the bathroom in a hole in the backyard because her water got shut off. WTH. https://t.co/TZqG5xrICC pic.twitter.com/99yu8R6rHL
The Daily Dot has reached out to Liquid Death for comment.
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H/T Buzzfeed News
Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.