The startup has only spent $600 on marketing and has seen more than 1.7 million views on Facebook.
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Credit: Photo courtesy of Liquid Death / Facebook.

There’s no denying it—the food industry heavily relies on marketing and advertising to sway us into reaching for something that usually isn’t the best option.

But one creative startup brand is trying to use cheeky advertising to sway energy-drink customers away from their luminescent green beverages toward something with a lot more health benefits: water.

That’s the idea behind Liquid Death. The brand, which was created by Mike Cessario as a side project to his advertising day job, garnered a lot of attention after a humorous ad went viral on Facebook. In the ad, an impressively fit woman, making direct eye contact with the camera (a lá the Old Spice ads) begins to pour an endless can of water, all while describing it as "the most extreme and dangerous beverage on Earth.”

That video has turned heads thanks to (at the time of this writing) more than 1.7 million views in less than two months, with just $600 of advertising revenue. Cessario told Adweek that Liquid Death is seeing more engagement with customers than brands like Monster and Red Bull.

It's an open question whether the viral video is turning into actual orders for the water—or whether consumers would be interested in buying it if it were widely available. Cooking Light reached out to Cessario, but he was unavailable for comment.

Getting consumers to make the conscious switch from energy drinks or other bottled soft drinks to plain water isn’t easy, but if Liquid Death could convince you to pick up a can of its spring water on a regular basis, the health benefits would be considerably noticeable.

Credit: Photo courtesy of Liquid Death / Facebook.

Many people already have a hard time meeting the recommended daily intake of water—which the USDA says is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women, given that only 20% of that intake is supposed to come from food items.

Jamie Vespa, Cooking Light’s assistant nutrition editor, says that choosing Liquid Death over an energy drink like Red Bull would reap immense benefits. You’d save upwards of 120 calories for even the smallest can, a whopping 27g of sugar, plus avoid a list of additives like sodium citrate and taurine.  

Consumers have started to pick up on the benefits of drinking more water, however—just last year, bottled water became the number one selling beverage in America. While it’s unclear if bottled water sales are generated by one consumer group, there’s been efforts to stem sales at college campuses and national parks in the past.

It’ll be interesting to see just how well Liquid Death enters this busy market, as a 12-pack of 16oz cans retail for $17.99 (which is just about 1.50 per bottle). That may be favorable to an energy drink, but you can buy a 6-pack of Smartwater 1-liter bottles for $7.99 on Amazon for comparison—and of course you can get it from your tap for mere pennies. While there’s clearly strong marketing here, would it be enough to have fans order more than just once—or shop for the brand in stores?

If you’re inclined to give Liquid Death a try, you can preorder your water here—the brand is planning to ship later this spring and is trying to partner with distributors like 7-Eleven later this year.