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How’d They Do It? Liquid Death’s Takeover of the Water Space

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Mary Rose Walker

Recognized for its distinctive approach to water retail, unconventional tactics, and inventive marketing strategies, Liquid Death disrupted the water category and captured customers so loyal, they have even tattooed its logo on their bodies. How did the renegade water brand make its way into our collective consciousness?  

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According to their website, Liquid Death is “just a funny beverage company who hates corporate marketing as much as you do. [Their] evil mission is to make people laugh and get more of them to drink more healthy beverages more often, all while helping to kill plastic pollution.” And through their packaging strategies and marketing, they succeed. 

Gen-Z Loves Aluminum Packaging  

Central to Liquid Death's meteoric rise is its innovative method of packaging and promotion within the bottled water industry. Departing from the conventional norms, the brand opted to put its water in 19.2 oz aluminum cans, a favorite of craft brewers. The unique packaging not only attracts attention but also serves as a conversation starter, effectively transforming the act of consuming water into a symbol of defiance and distinction. Its similarity to craft beer packaging allows the cans to seamlessly fit into coolers and coozies—lowering the stigma of opting for water during a drinking occasion.  

Choosing aluminum reflects a departure from the norm of the plastic bottle. With 55% of American Gen Zers actively reducing their single-plastic use (Statista, 2020), Liquid Death’s aluminum cans fit the bill: 75% of aluminum ever produced is still in use. 

Brands like Liquid Death are furthering their eco-practices by supporting sustainable initiatives by donating a portion of the profits from its first NFT collection to non-profits fighting plastic pollution and distributing clean drinking water. 


Making Water Cool by Marketing 

What’s so exciting about water? Liquid Death can tell you. 


Integral to Liquid Death's success is its utilization of storytelling and humor to engage its target demographic. Their messaging turns dehydration into the enemy ("murder your thirst"), adding an irreverent and audacious tone to an otherwise mundane product. This approach resonates strongly, particularly within the younger demographic (Gen Z) that gravitate towards authentic experiences and brands aligned with their values. 

Unlike many other water brands, Liquid Death skillfully navigates social media platforms, aiding its rapid ascent. The brand's messaging and partnerships, most notably with Steve-O of Jackass, attract and hold the attention of a digitally fluent audience. This engagement strategy has not only bolstered customer loyalty but has also propelled the brand's reach, transforming it from relative obscurity into a media darling. 

Why Is It Working? 

Liquid Death has masterfully carved a distinct niche within the bottled water market, capturing the allegiance of a demographic that places high value on individuality and meaningful brand interactions. Their messaging, packaging, and digital storytelling speak to an eco-conscious, digitally connected consumer who has limited their alcohol consumption but still wants to enjoy a beverage.  

Liquid Death’s upward trajectory has been thanks to their novel approach to the water space, capitalizing on the consumer-driven macro trends in CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods). The brand has been really, really good at knowing its audience -- now and in the future. We doubt this is a coincidence. 

Do you know the way your market is headed? And will your business be there to meet them? Learn more about your customers and macro trends guiding the consumer packaged goods market: Contact us today! 

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