Listen Up: Marketing Students Learn First-hand About the Power of Social Listening for Brands

By Eileen Acello | 03/22/2024

Tags: Bulletins | Marketing
Categories: Academics | Announcements | Faculty/Staff | Research | Students

Liquid Death's Surprise Visit to FAU

Marketing Students Social Listening

As a college marketing instructor at Florida Atlantic, I always aim to make learning engaging and relevant to the real world. When an assignment engages a $1.4 Billion company, like Liquid Death, I know our FAU marketing program and our students are hitting the mark!

In my Principles of Advertising course, I task students with delving into their favorite advertising campaigns, then to share their findings on LinkedIn, and even tag the companies and their marketing heads. This exercise isn't only about research; it's about embracing the concept of "social listening," where we tune into what's being said about brands online. And here's the kicker: if the students manage to catch the attention of these companies, they earn extra credit!

One standout from our class, Yadira Gonzalez, a senior Commercial Music Business major, chose Liquid Death's #deathtoplastic campaign. Liquid Death, a canned water company making its debut in 2019, skyrocketed to success with its tagline "murder your thirst," and its edgy, heavy metal imagery and commitment to sustainability. Yadira's LinkedIn post, asking for luck as she presented her research on the company and its campaign, caught the eye of none other than the CEO, Mike Cessario, Ryan Heuser, Sr. VP of Experiential Marketing, and other key members of the Liquid Death team.

Building on the social engagement momentum, I reached out to Ryan Heuser and invited him to join our class for a surprise visit during our lesson on Social Listening; it would also be Liquid Death’s first visit to Florida Atlantic’s campus. On March 18th, Ryan shared the history of Liquid Death, his own career journey, and even discussed opportunities within their Collegiate Ambassador program. The class was thrilled, the discussion was lively, and each student received a gift bag from the company with T-shirts and samples of its canned water.

"Our team at Liquid Death was stoked to come across the shout out we received from Yadira on LinkedIn regarding her advertising project. The least we could do was come to the classroom to hydrate the students and talk about Liquid Death's non-traditional and hopefully always funny, approach to marketing.  Big thanks to Eileen Acello for educating her class on the power of social listening!  This never would have happened otherwise.  And we're sure glad it did!"  #deathtoplastic #hydrateordie                                                                                                – Ryan Heuser, Sr. VP. Of Experiential Marketing

The experience was more than just a lesson; it was a tangible application of textbook concepts to the real world. By seeing firsthand how companies like Liquid Death engage with their audience and monitor social channels, my students gained invaluable insights into the importance of customer feedback and brand interaction.

“This experience was really cool and exciting; it made my day, and so far the last few days. I told my parents and friends, and they were just as surprised about the news. I’m really glad and grateful that Ryan Heuser went out of his way to not only come in and talk to the class, but that he brought Liquid Death merchandise to share with us. This whole experience made me love their brand even more.”

                                                                                     – Yadira Gonzalez, FAU Senior, Commercial Music Business Major


It's moments like these that make teaching marketing so fulfilling. Seeing my students light up as they connect theory to practice, and witnessing the genuine excitement from industry professionals, like Liquid Death, reaffirms my passion for marketing education.

Collaborations with companies like these are essential to providing our students with the tools, knowledge, and connections they need to thrive in the fast-paced world of marketing. By bridging the gap between theory and practice, we're shaping the marketers of tomorrow to be bold, innovative, and ready to make their mark on the world!

Professor Eileen Acello, is a Marketing Instructor at Florida Atlantic, where she teaches Introduction to Advertising, Consumer Behavior, Retail Management, Marketing Internships, and a Case Competition course. Her students have had opportunities to engage with numerous companies in her classroom. Working on current, real-world challenges for companies such as PepsiCoCarmela Coffee, Mr. Coffee, Scrub Daddy, Fit Crunch, Campbell Soup, Hormel/Skippy, Starbucks, E&J Gallo Wines and others, gives students first-hand insight into what their careers in marketing will encompass. 

Professor Acello is also FAU's Advisor for the American Marketing Association (a student-run organization) and coordinates the Marketing Internship Program.