There is obviously nothing in this world more punk rock than a Netflix exec getting $1.6 million from tech investors for his canned-water company. This is some serious motherfucking hardcore shit. Liquid Death, a new company that sells bottled water in tallboy cans, is about to open this pit up. That seems to be the pitch, anyway.
Earlier this week, Business Insider published a story on Mike Cessario, a former Netflix creative director who’s starting a new water company called Liquid Death. Liquid Death is just plain water, but it’s in cans, and it’s announcing to the world that “nothing’s better than murdering your thirst.” The Liquid Death cans look like they’re intended for some microbrew IPA, but Cessario says that his idea is to market them specifically to straight-edge punks as opposed to “Whole Foods yoga moms”:
Initially, some of our thinking was, we wanted to take more inspiration from the beer category because one thing we know in marketing is if you want younger people to want something you have to market to people in their 20s because teens want the thing they can’t have. At first, we knew the easiest crowd for us is anyone into heavy metal, punk rock, and that kind of world because they immediately get the joke and get the humor and have never seen anything like it. What makes this appealing for such a large group is that it feels like a niche thing.
Cessario also says that aluminum cans are more environmentally friendly than plastic bottles and that Liquid Death will donate $0.05 from the sales of every can to environmental causes. This, he explains, is also punk rock:
If you think about it, it makes sense, everything metal and punk is extreme. 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.
This pitch was apparently good enough for Cessario to pull in $1.6 million of seed funding from a bunch of big tech backers like Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, which shows you exactly how much this Netflix guy’s punk rock credibility is worth. That Business Insider piece mentions Cessario’s “background playing in punk and heavy metal bands,” which sounds made-up. The piece doesn’t mention any bands. But if he’s the same Cessario with this Discogs page, then Cessario’s background is legit; he’s played drums in Twitching Tongues, Forced Order, Disgrace, and Creatures. Punks need to found absurd companies and sell products that nobody needs, too, I guess?
In its marketing, Liquid Death is definitely going all-in on punk aesthetics, to a genuinely hilarious degree. Observe:
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Barbershop owner @kenzyleecuts demonstrates how to safely operate a can of Liquid Death Mountain Water. Step 1: Hold can securely in hand. Step 2: Drink from can. Step 3: Dance on grave of thirst. #liquiddeath #murderyourthirst #deathtoplastic #barber #howto
This is clearly the dumbest shit that any of us has ever seen, but if this ends up resulting in a bunch of sponsored free punk and metal shows, then fine, I guess? Someone needs to pick up the slack now that Scion’s not doing that anymore.