Popular canned water Liquid Death will become the first brand to place a wager on the Super Bowl. And, oh yeah, it hired someone who has practiced witchcraft for 42 years to make sure they win. This marks the latest stunt for the brand that loves to be loved (and hated).
Liquid Death Mountain Water has had the magic touch when it comes to creating edgy marketing efforts. It has sold skateboards covered in Tony Hawk’s blood, recorded a punk album featuring all of the hateful things people have said about the brand, and even produced its own horror movie Dead Till Death.
Now it’s attempting an even bigger trick – capturing consumer attention during the deafening noise surrounding the Super Bowl. Today the canned water brand announced it will be the first in history to place a $50,000 wager on the underdog of Super Bowl LVI. What’s more, it bought a ticket for an actual witch who will attend in person and use black magic to influence the outcome of the game.
“Witchcraft has been here since the beginning of time – because it works,” the anonymous spellcaster, who has been practicing the dark arts for 42 years, says in the teaser video.
Liquid Death’s unapologetic attitude has made it the No. 1 water brand on Instagram and TikTok, as well as the No. 7 among all beverage brands, per the company. The reason why? “We like taking a stance that other brands would never touch,” says Andy Pearson, vice-president of creative at Liquid Death.
Despite the ominous-sounding name, and penchant for merchandizing its product in coffins, the brand is focused on making a positive impact for the planet. Specifically, its rallying cry is ‘death to plastic.’ 10% of its sales go to charities that tackle plastic pollution and create clean drinking solutions. Liquid Death has also vowed to share half of its Super Bowl winnings with those charities.
“We are the underdog of the beverage business, so of course we are betting on the underdog,” says Pearson. Sending a witch to the game to force that deciding fumble or interception “makes more [of] an interesting lens to watch the game through. Sports fans are some of the most superstitious in the world.”
No matter what the outcome, Liquid Death is winning at the moment. “They have a remarkable knack for keeping things fresh, unpredictable and very edgy,” says Gerry Khermouch, editor of Beverage Market Insights. “It’s schtick but it has proved to be a remarkably fertile platform.”
The packaging plays a big part in its success as well. Its 16.9 oz tallboy is spot on with the times as cans are the preferred packaging of choice for younger consumers, says Khermouch.
Expect its death march to continue as it just landed $75m in series-C funding and can now be found at Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, tattoo parlors, Amazon and Live Nation concert events. It’s the exclusive water brand at 120 Live Nation venues.
On Tuesday, it debuted three sparkling water flavors that are decidedly on-brand. Berry It Alive, Severed Lime and Mango Chainsaw each offers ‘20 calories, three grams of real agave and no mercy.’ Alongside its original still and sparkling canned waters, all of Liquid Death’s offerings promise to ‘murder your thirst.’
“It’s kind of fascinating,” says Khermouch. “So far they pulled it off. We will see if, ultimately, they build a real brand.” And on Super Bowl Sunday, we will see if a combination of brand magic and real magic pays off.