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Mike Cessario of Liquid Death has built the fastest-growing water brand on the strength of one great joke. But is it really enough?

The brand has made a similar impression on Vann Graves, executive director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Brandcenter, a top advertising school. “It has a swagger that the category has never seen before,” he says. “Some would argue that water is water is water, but what Liquid Death is doing with that water is what’s exciting–what’s impactful.” Graves calls the brand “a case study in disruption,” but in the next breath he questions how long it can last.

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