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How Liquid Death and Jeff Tremaine Opened a Can of Jackass with Wild Grannies


Liquid Death’s Andy Pearson on filming death metal grandmas doing stunts with Jackass director Jeff Tremaine for a new iced tea range, writes LBB’s Ben Conway

How Liquid Death and Jeff Tremaine Opened a Can of Jackass with Wild Grannies

To launch its new line of iced tea products, canned water brand Liquid Death - known for its subversive, comedic marketing campaigns - teamed up with legendary ‘Jackass’ director Jeff Tremaine to show that iced tea isn’t just for your grandma. Playing off of a series of energy drink advertising tropes, from extreme sports to metal rock, the ‘Your Grandma’s Energy Drink’ spot shows a mischievous group of grannies doing some seriously silly stunts in the vein of Johnny Knoxville and the gang.

Presented in the punk-style packaging Liquid Death fans have come to expect, the iced tea flavours have equally extreme names, like ‘Rest in Peach’ and ‘Grim Leafer’. The new range has been positioned as a natural energy drink with relatively low sugar content - in keeping with the brand’s original framing as a water brand to ‘murder the thirst’ of gig-going straight-edge punks. Previously, Liquid Death recorded an album of metal tracks (one of which is the backing to this latest spot) that used the company’s online hate messages as its lyrics, but now it’s time for the brand to get even more extreme and take on the energy drink sector, with cage fighting, tyre-spinning, rail-grinding grannies.

To discuss how this project was brought to life and how Jeff Tremaine’s jackassery was the perfect fit for Liquid Death’s image, LBB’s Ben Conway spoke with Andy Pearson, VP of creative at Liquid Death Mountain Water.

LBB> Where did the original creative spark for this spot come from? How did you want to play a twist on the public perception of iced tea products?

Andy> As a brand devoted to giving people healthy and more sustainable alternatives, we designed our iced tea to be an answer to the caffeine jacked sugarbomb energy drinks and teas on the market. It has just 30 calories from six grams of agave, plus 30mg of caffeine. If you think about it, tea has been around way longer than those other drinks. It’s the original energy drink your grandma’s been drinking for years. So, the idea was simple. What if we took all the tropes of energy drink marketing - action sports, combat sports, metal - and just had grannies do it all instead?

It was as simple as looking at the kind of stuff energy drinks sponsor or that energy drink culture fetishises - and then maybe throwing in a pinch of ‘Jackass’ for good measure.

LBB> How does this spot fit in with the wider brand strategy of Liquid Death and other recent campaigns?

Andy> Our entire strategy is simply to make entertainment instead of marketing. Our aim is to make something that is genuinely funny. Just like ‘SNL’, that can take on a lot of different forms, but it’s all coming from the same place of making people laugh.

LBB> When people are hanging out of car windows, grinding down rails, and firing fireworks from their nether regions, is there a lot of paperwork or health and safety people to consult? 

Andy> Haha, no comment.

LBB> Liquid Death is no stranger to metal soundtracks - how did the Grandma band idea come to fruition?

Andy> Liquid Death grew out of our mutual passions for stuff like metal, skating, and humour. The track we used is actually from an album we released in 2020 called ‘Greatest Hates’, where we took hate comments people left us and turned them into lyrics. The track is called ‘Go Out Of Business’ and the lyrics involved someone talking about how excited they were for us to fold. Considering we’ve grown exponentially since then and have launched into a massive new category, we figured it was the perfect song to use.

LBB> The film is directed by Jeff Tremaine - why was he the perfect choice for this campaign? What iconic ‘Jackass’ elements does he bring to the spot?

Andy> We all grew up on ‘Jackass’, and this spot was a bit of a homage to them. So, we just said, ‘Fuck it. Should we see if Jeff Tremaine will direct it?’ and he did! He also brought in a lot of the ‘Jackass’ crew who have all worked together for years and years. 

We also brought in Tony Gardner who is a SFX and character design wizard, who worked with them in the past. He and his team did all the masks and makeup. Everyone was so fun to work with, and I think that really comes through in the final product.

LBB> Were you on set for any of the shoots? If so, what were some of the biggest lessons learnt from the production process? Any fun anecdotes you can share?

Andy> Yep. In fact, pretty much everyone in the masks or in the background was either a friend of Liquid Death or a Liquid Death employee. There are a lot of cameos in there: the singer of the ‘Bomb Pops’ Jen Razavi, skater/MMA dude Jason Ellis, comedian Shapel Lacey, skater Dane Burman. One of them is even Liquid Death co-founder/CEO Mike Cessario, and Greg Fass, our VP of marketing, is the one hanging out the car window as it whips around. He had no idea he was going to do stunt work when he showed up on set that morning.

LBB> Skate tricks can be notoriously, well, tricky - how did you find this aspect of the project? 

Andy> The location of that rail is actually a pretty well known skating spot, and Jeff had shot on it before. That’s wildman Dane Burman under the mask there. He hit it one-and-done, which is really impressive since he said he could barely see anything in the mask.

LBB> What was the most fulfilling part of this project for you - and equally, what was the most challenging? How did you overcome this challenge?

Andy> The most fulfilling part is always putting it into the world and seeing people’s reactions to it. Part of the magic of Liquid Death is that you never know what we’re going to do next, so no one is ever prepared for it. The biggest challenge honestly has been having Amazon keep up with demand. So many people hit Amazon to buy the iced tea that within a couple hours of launch, it crashed Amazon’s algorithm and the product became unavailable for a bit. Within 24 hours, it became the number one best seller of all tea (iced or dry) and the number two best seller of all beverages. And, the next day, ‘Liquid Death’ became a top trending search on the entire Amazon platform - like… all of Amazon. So, the response has been truly staggering.

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Genres: Action, Comedy, Music performance

Categories: Energy Drinks, Soft Drinks

LBB Editorial, Thu, 23 Mar 2023 18:07:00 GMT