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Liquid Death Got Ridiculously Successful by Asking One Question: 'What's the Dumbest Idea You Can Think of Right Now?'

Want to stand out in a crowded market? The founder of ridiculous canned-water brand Liquid Death has a suggestion: Embrace dumb ideas.

This story appears in the December 2021 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Water is the basis of life: It grows plants, it constitutes up to 60 percent of the adult human body, and we can’t go longer than about three days without drinking it. So Liquid Death is probably the last thing you’d think to name a water brand.

Courtesy of Liquid Death

That’s exactly why former marketing creative director Mike Cessario founded the canned-water company Liquid Death in 2017. He abides by a habit of asking, “What’s the dumbest idea you can think of right now?” That practice sparked an idea for packaging water differently than anyone else: in a can with a skull on it, emblazoned with the punk slogan “Murder your thirst.” Cessario’s contrarian branding has earned flustered press, a deep degree of street cred, and a lot of social followers — more than half a million on Instagram and nearing a million on TikTok. It has also led the company to become a top-selling water at Whole Foods and Walmart in just a few short years.

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