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By Kenneth Hein, US Editor

June 8, 2022 | 3 min read

The old taste-test gimmick gets a new spin as Liquid Death pits its new flavored sparkling waters against some of the most expensive liquids on the planet.

Liquid Death has made a mockery out of marketing. Whether it is having a porn star promote its product or a witch place a hex at the Super Bowl, the brand regularly treats traditional marketing tactics as a joke. Instead, it uses entertainment quality à la Saturday Night Live as its North Star.

That’s why ‘The Liquid Death Blind Taste Test’ is decidedly different. The brand blindfolded 17 real people and asked them to compare its new flavored sparkling waters with some of the most premium liquids money can buy.

The new sparkling water flavors – Berry It Alive, Mango Chainsaw and Severed Lime – are naturally sweetened with agave and retail for $1.99.

In a video launching today, most of the tasters appear to enjoy the new flavors. A tallboy of Lobster Béarnaise Sauce ($50), on the other hand, is met with a decidedly different reaction. As is liquified Beluga caviar ($580). “You need the bucket?” asks the person offering the samples.

With this launch “we thought, ‘how do we talk about taste in a way that’s funny?’” says Liquid Death chief executive and co-founder Mike Cessario. “Any time we make fun of the marketing tropes, that people are just so tired of, it tends to work pretty well. So we said let’s test Liquid Death against the most expensive stuff we can possibly think of ... We’re trying to raise the bar in terms of making people laugh.”

The taste test launches today, along with a message encouraging people to blindfold their closest friends and conduct their own taste tests. The goal is to get Liquid Death fans posting videos to social. “It could be something that people on TikTok, or social, would want to do to fuck with their friends,” says Cessario. “But you can’t force it or push too hard. It just has to become one of those things. But you always have to put stuff out there that feels like it has potential.”

Liquid Death is the fifth most-followed beverage brand on social, per the company. It has more followers than Coke and Pepsi – the two brands from the original taste test. The Pepsi Challenge debuted in 1975 and is credited with sparking the cola wars. It has spawned countless knock-offs including, ‘Is it delivery or is it DiGiorno?’ But Liquid Death’s taste test is the first to involve imported squid ink ($58).

On deck next for the brand is more activity from its celebrity ambassadors, which include Metallica, Travis Barker, Steve O from Jackass, Wiz Khalifa, Tony Hawk and comedian Bert Kreischer. Steve O has already had the brand tattooed on his neck and Tony Hawk put his blood in a limited-edition skateboard. “We’ll continue to find fun ways to work with our ambassadors,” says Cessario. “We’re always going to push this brand in a PG-13 way. We’re always thinking about being more like Saturday Night Live and less like a commercial.”

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