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Come At The King ...

Canned water brand outrages Golf Twitter by coming after . . . Arnold Palmer?

November 28, 2023

As a famous prestige television character once said, you come at the King, you best not miss. When it comes to marketing ploys, thought, it's much harder to deem what a "miss" is or isn't.

In this case, Liquid Death, a popular canned water brand whose tagline is "murder your thirst," came at THE King of golf, Arnold Palmer, which naturally outraged Golf Twitter.

As this quick synopsis shows, Liquid Death released new iced tea/lemonade drink, also known as an "Arnold Palmer" by a large portion of a America, and called it "Armless Palmer." To the surprise of absolutely no one, the Arnold Palmer estate promptly threatened to sue. Liquid Death then pretended to be shocked by this threat in a fiery Instagram caption, where the brand also revealed it would be changing the name to "Dead Billionaire," which the most unbiased of arbiters would say is in poor taste. 

"If you like our Armless Palmer tea/lemonade, then you are going to LOVE our new Dead Billionaire tea/lemonade," Liquid Death wrote. "Why? Because it's the EXACT same thing, only now it has a way cooler name that won't require us to fight a senseless legal battle with a large enterprise who sent us a letter saying we can't use the word 'Palmer' and who are also partnered with a giant iced tea corporation. Both of whom have far more $$$ to burn on legal fees than we do." 

Much to unpack here. First, we get it, Liquid Death, you're edgy and cool. Second, they came up with the "Armless Palmer" name, which is good (!), likely knew it would stir something like this up, and are now turning around and saying "well, actually, this name is WAY cooler." Gotcha. 

And finally, while they are right that the Arnold Palmer estate and Arizona Iced Tea have a ton of money to blow, it's hilarious to be crying poor when your brand was valued at $700 million in October of 2022. Not exactly a little mom and pop shop. All that being said, it IS a genius marketing play, as evidenced by the endless outrage from the always-outraged folks on Golf Twitter:

And that's just a small sampling. Again, as all the brilliant reply guys will tell you, it's a galaxy brain marketing move. It's gets the people talking. It riles up folks who have never even heard of Liquid Death and now know of its existence. Yada, yada, yada. It's OK to point out that it seems a little weird and gross, though, whether you are a golf fan or not.