Need for Speed: Liquid Death’s Latest Stunt Goes Top Gun For Jet Giveaway

Liquid Death is taking its patented outrageousness to new heights—literally—by launching a contest to give away a fighter jet nicknamed The Dehydrator worth about $400,000.

The sweeps, where consumers can enter as many as 400 times, is aimed at whipping up a frenzy that will drive retail sales during the key summer season for the brand’s line of still and sparkling waters and iced teas.

But another goal is to unsubtly throw shade at beverage behemoth PepsiCo, whose 1996 “Drink Pepsi, Get Stuff” campaign seemingly promised a $32 million jet as a prize but didn’t eventually deliver. (Lawsuits, countersuits and a Netflix docuseries called Pepsi, Where’s My Jet? followed).

“We like to poke the bear,” Andy Pearson, Liquid Death’s vice president of creative, told ADWEEK. “And I’ve heard that others have had the idea to give away a jet, but no one’s ever pulled it off.”

The stunt will award an Aero L-39C Albatros, which was previously owned by the U.S. military and used for training (used was the better buy, per the brand, as new models can cost north of $15 million). The plane never had weapons capabilities, but it can top speeds of 470 mph, hence its gross-out moniker.

“It can go so fast you’ll likely puke and pee yourself,” Pearson said.

A pilot isn’t included in the package, but among the loot is a year’s worth of Liquid Death, a six-month hangar rental, a branded helmet and cup holder. What the winner does with the Albatros is entirely optional, though the plane emblazoned with the brand’s skull logo may make some pre-giveaway appearances at air shows around the country, Pearson said.

The only requirement for entering is the purchase of a single Liquid Death product from a brick-and-mortar store, along with submitting a receipt to the company. (Example: a multi-pack equals multiple entries). 

Retailers will play a significant role in spreading the word about the promotion via in-store signage; the brand also will roll out more content, in addition to its debut video, over the coming weeks.

Raising the stakes

Putting together the project was “exceedingly difficult” because of the price tag and complex legalities, proving to be “a massive undertaking,” Pearson said. “It’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done.”

Liquid Death was inspired by a failed Pepsi stunt from the ’90s to give away an Aero L-39C Albatros jet.

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