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The Power of Subverting Expectations

This post was inspired by a commercial for canned water. It sounds stupid on paper, but the advertising for the product is actually quite genius. It’s well made, it gets the message across, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. But what made it so memorable was how it subverted my expectations.

When you think of an ad for water, you’re probably thinking of something beyond cheesy. Footage of mountainous waterfalls, trendy pop music, you know the deal.

But this product, Liquid Death, goes a whole different direction.



It has swear words (gasp!). Fatality statistics. Waterboarding. It even calls out plastic bottle companies for advertising “eco-friendly” products when in reality 80% of the plastic water bottles we buy ends up in landfills.


Now I have no idea if Liquid Death is good or if it’s complete garbage. But it stuck in my mind. That’s the power of subverting expectations—take a traditional set-up and give it an unconventional punchline. Whether people like it or not they’ll remember it. You will stand out, and that’s important in an oversaturated marketplace. And not only will you find your audience, you’ll find your voice because you’re not sticking to a template. That requires creativity.

So if you’re enduring a creative slump or want to take your craft in a new direction, try looking for ways to flip it on its head. You might discover something new or exciting.

What did you take away from this article? Have any questions or suggestions? Leave your comment down below! See you next week.


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