Category Archives: Rock and Roll Products

The Power of Metal: How Zakk Wylde Helped Death Wish Coffee “Score” a Super Bowl Commercial

Death Wish Coffee - Zakk Wylde - Super Bowl

By Adam Waldman

Super Bowl commercials have become almost as important as the game itself.  In fact, for viewers who are not football fans, the commercials are arguably more important than the game.  This year’s Super Bowl ad prices were an exorbitant $5 million for a 30-second spot, a number that is beyond the reach of many large companies, much less small businesses.  However, one very cool small business made a big impact as the winner of a Quickbooks competition that featured over 15,000 contestants.  Of course, only Death Wish Coffee had a direct connection to one of the greatest guitarists in the history of hard rock and metal…Zakk Wylde, whose fanbase helped this underdog company emerge victorious over their competition.

Although the NFL has a taste for homogenized halftime entertainment, and totally disregards rock music, the power of metal was still on display when the Death Wish Coffee commercial aired amidst multi-billion dollar corporations.  You’re probably wondering why Wylde encouraged his fanbase to support a small coffee company from upstate New York.  Is it that the company has the most metal name in the coffee world?  Is it that the company has the coolest (skull and bones) logo in the coffee world?  Is it because he wanted to be associated with “the world’s strongest coffee?”  It’s safe to say that all of these factors led Wylde to Death Wish Coffee when he decided to launch his own coffee brand…Valhalla Java.



Death Wish Coffee founder/CEO Mike Brown used to be an accountant, but gave it up to open up a coffee shop in Saratoga Springs, NY called Saratoga Coffee Traders.  Having one small coffee shop location in a somewhat pricey area made it difficult to earn a profit.  However, the inspiration for what would become Death Wish Coffee was born out of Brown’s interaction with his customers who demanded the strongest coffee that he had to help power them through their days.  This sent Brown on a quest to find out what was considered to be the “world’s strongest coffee.”  When nothing presented itself after doing extensive research, Brown took it upon himself to create the world’s strongest coffee.  After countless weeks of late nights, early mornings, cupping and a lot of testing, Brown finally found the perfect blend of beans.  Death Wish Coffee was born!




Upon realizing that he had something special, Brown assembled a small team of dedicated workers to help him bring “the world’s strongest coffee” to the world.  This team has worked tirelessly together to help spread the word about Death Wish Coffee.  There is no arguing that their work has paid off handsomely.

If Hollywood had written a script where a small coffee company connects with one of the most respected guitarists in the world, and that this pairing would work together to win a contest for a Super Bowl ad, the story might have seemed a bit far-fetched.  But for those who love an underdog story, hard rock, metal and/or extremely strong coffee…the teamwork of Wylde, his fans and Death Wish Coffee is one for the ages.




In a recent interview with Hard Rock Daddy, Kane Grogan (Death Wish Coffee) shared the story of the path that the company took to end up with an ad in the Super Bowl…

“Death Wish Coffee entered the Quickbooks contest for a Super Bowl ad in June of 2015.  All of the companies competing where considered ‘small businesses’ because they had 50 employees or less.  However, most weren’t as small in size or revenue as us.  Some of our competitors generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year in revenue, so I honestly didn’t think that we had much of a chance to win.  Thankfully, Quickbooks is very small business-oriented, so they took our entire story into account.  It wasn’t until we made it into the top 10, that we thought that we actually had a chance to win.  Everyone in the top 10 had great stories and big followings, so we still seemed like a bit of a long shot.




Once we made it into the top 10, it was just about votes, and Zakk was instrumental in helping to push us over the top.  It was really close as we got towards the end, but we made it into the top 3, before being named the overall winner.




Winning this contest was basically like winning a seven million dollar prize ($5 million to buy the space, $1 million to produce the commercial and another million to promote it).  What you actually get is worth so much more than $7 million though.  It’s a great story, and since we have such an accessible product, things have really taken off.  When we were announced as the winners, it was picked up by a lot news outlets and print publications, and the YouTube video of the commercial had several million views within the first three days of launching.




While the cash value of winning was $7 million, the residual benefits of the exposure that we’ve gotten has to be the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars of free advertising.  This boost has fast-tracked all of our plans.  We’ve actually hit numbers already that were projected for 10 years from now.  Thankfully, we had all of our systems in place, so we were able to handle the influx of business and scale things accordingly.  If we capitalize on this opportunity properly, we can quickly become a national brand.  As it is, I wouldn’t be surprised if over a billion people have heard of us by now.




We actually started to feel the impact of the Super Bowl commercial ten days prior to the game as we competed in the top 3, so there was already a lot of coverage and exposure.  In some ways, the actual exposure during the Super Bowl doesn’t generate as much response because people are out at parties.  You do get an instant reaction, but the reaction is greater when people see it in print or on their computer.  The retention rate is higher on the exposure that comes with the Super Bowl ad than the 30-second spot itself, but that’s not to say that there wasn’t an absolute explosion when it aired.  Within 10 seconds of the commercial airing, we had a ton of people visit the website.



Want to Have a Rockin’ Valentine’s Day? Think METAL!

Metal For Men Logo

A typical Valentine’s Day is all about flowers, chocolate and jewelry.  Looking for something outside the box that hard rock/metal fans will truly appreciate?  Think METAL!  K.K. Downing’s Metal for Men to be more specific.  The legendary axeman may no longer be working with Judas Priest, but he is keeping himself busy with a cool new fragrance line – the aforementioned Metal for Men, and for the rocker chick in your life, Metal pour Femme.  (CLICK HERE to go to the Metal for Men online store).

Interestingly, Downing didn’t set out to create a fragrance and then come up with a brand name that captured the spirit of its essence.  The name came to him first when he woke up with the phrase “metal for men” on his mind.  After giving some thought as to what it could relate to, the metal entrepreneur came up with the idea for a fragrance to fill a void in the market for rock and metal fans.  The divine inspiration for these exciting fragrances was nudged along by Downing’s mother continually asking him what he wanted for Christmas.  Working with a friend in the fragrance industry, the brand was built fairly quickly.

Metal For Men has Downing’s stamp all over it.  If you look at the “M” in “Metal,” you’ll notice the legend’s signature Flying V guitar subtly incorporated into the logo.  And the tagline, straight forward and to the point, just like the classic metal music that he helped to create…“Be More. Be Metal.”

On Valentine’s Day (or any other occasion for that matter), you have the choice to be the same or be unique.  Personally speaking, the choice is clear.  I choose to be unique…I choose to “be Metal.”

Even if you’re not into fragrances, Metal for Men has something for the metal fan in your life.  There is some really cool swag available in the Metal for Men online store.  Check it out!