Cut Out With Cutwater

Sometime during Sunday’s Super Bowl LV on CBS, when you notice TV commercials from local advertisers, watch for a 30-second spot from Cutwater Spirits, a Miramar-based craft distillery.

Cutwater’s “Cut Out” commercial is scheduled to air on CBS affiliates in western region markets, including San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Seattle. The spot also will debut the same day on ESPN.

A Cutwater spokesperson told Times of San Diego it will be the distillery’s first time to advertise during the Super Bowl.

Cutwater declined to disclose the cost of the spot, but network ads are costing an estimated $5.5 million for 30 seconds, and the price of a regional buy is most likely lower.

Cutwater is owned by Anheuser-Busch, which has allocated four minutes of advertising during the Big Game to its “beyond beer” brands, including Cutwater, Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade and Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer. Over the past nearly four decades, Super Bowl viewers have watched frogs chirping “Budweiser,” guys screaming “Whassup” and, of course, the Budweiser Clydesdales.

In a statement, Cutwater said its “Cut-Out” TV commercial will remind consumers to embrace the simple idea of taking a moment to relax and unplug in active, outdoor California settings and enjoy a great tasting cocktail, which is as easy as cracking open a can. The announcer says, “It’s time to cut out, cut to it, cut loose, cut slack, cut back, cut open, cut to the chase. Cut out with Cutwater.”

Cutwater was built by the founders of Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Earl Kight and Yuseff Cherney. After Ballast Point was sold to New York’s Constellation Brands in 2015, Cutwater Spirits was established in 2017 and Anheuser-Busch acquired Cutwater as its first spirits brand in 2019.

Cutwater’s 20 ready-to-drink canned cocktails include Tequila Margarita, Bloody Mary, Mai Tai, Rum and Ginger, Gin and Tonic, Vodka Mule, Long Island Ice Tea and White Russian.

“Cutwater Spirits started as a passion project,” Cherney said. “We began canning cocktails so that people could enjoy a high-quality mixed drink with ease and convenience. From there, the idea took off. Since the beginning, we’ve focused on one thing, creating great tasting cocktails for any occasion whether that’s fishing on the Pacific or relaxing in your own backyard.”

The new Cutwater advertising campaign also includes an Instagram and Twitter social media component consisting of  videos of actress Emily Hampshire offering her outdoor, at-home interpretations of the “Cut Out” theme. Hampshire, a self-proclaimed “cut-out enthusiast,” played the character Stevie Budd on Netflix’s “Schitt’s Creek” series (2015 to 2020).

The social media campaign also includes an “Ultimate Backyard Sweepstakes” featuring a tent, fire pit, cabana chairs and a cooler filled with Cutwater canned cocktails as a prize.

“Many of us no longer have the physical divide between home life and work life, so it’s hard to feel entitled to cut out, let alone know how to do it,” said Hampshire in a statement. “As a long-time cut-out enthusiast, I’m here to educate and inspire. Listen, most of the time, I don’t even know what day it is. But, I’m okay with that because cutting out doesn’t judge you for mixing weekends with weekdays. Cutting out is self-care without all those hashtag goals.”

With bars closed and alcohol consumption up thanks to COVID-19 shutdowns, the drinking population has turned to pre-made cocktails in a big way. As reported in AdWeek, Cutwater Spirits saw a 120 percent in sales growth in 2020, according to market research firm IRI of Chicago.

Southwest Strategies Names Elizabeth Hansen as President

Public affairs firm Southwest Strategies has named Elizabeth Hansen as president succeeding co-founder Chris Wahl, who has served as president since 2008.

Wahl has taken the role of chief executive officer, and he will focus on implementing a broader vision for the company, according to a statement. A company spokesperson said Jennifer Wahl, who previously served as CEO, is now general counsel.

Hansen, who has worked at Southwest Strategies for the past 20 years, was previously executive vice president. She currently manages several client projects, including entitlements for Pardee Homes, outreach for Poseidon Water and infrastructure communications for the City of Carlsbad. She also manages the company’s leadership team and oversees much of the day-to-day operations.

Elizabeth Hansen

In a statement to Times of San Diego, Hansen said, “Southwest Strategies is powered by an all-star team of professionals who are dedicated to our clients and community. I’ve enjoyed being part of the team for more than two decades and look forward to working with our leadership team to help guide the next chapter of our firm’s exciting future.”

“Elizabeth is an accomplished public affairs practitioner with an impressive track record,” said Wahl. “She is a perfect fit for this position and I look forward to working closely with her to chart a path for continued growth and success at Southwest Strategies. With Elizabeth as our president, I am confident in our ability to continue to meet this high bar, as we cultivate a new generation of leaders in our field and embrace diversity and inclusion in our decision-making process.”

Southwest Strategies was founded by Wahl and Alan Ziegaus in 2000. Ziegaus is still with the firm as chairman emeritus. With 40 employees who work at offices in San Diego, Fresno and Walnut Creek , Southwest Strategies provides public affairs strategies and outreach support to public sector and private companies across a broad range of industries, including energy, transportation, water, retail, housing, professional sports, maritime and real estate development.

Southern California Broadcasters Association Names Board Officers

The Southern California Broadcasters Association, a trade organization promoting radio advertising, has elected new board officers for its 2021-2023 term beginning Feb. 1 and ending Jan. 31, 2023.

The new officers include: Kevin LeGrett, division president, iHeart Media Los Angeles/Southwest division, as chairman; Terry Fahy, western region VP, Salem Media Group, as vice chairman; Sabrina Wildmann, president and GM, Univision Communications San Diego, as secretary; and Melissa Forrest, president, iHeart Media San Diego, as treasurer. At-large officers include: Jeff Federman, regional president, Entercom Communications; Chris Fleming, executive VP, El Dorado Broadcasters; and Otto Padron, president/COO, Meruelo Media.

Among the 170 association members are more than 25 San Diego radio stations operated by Entercom Communications, iHeart Media, Local Media San Diego, Salem Media Group, Uniradio Corp and Univision Radio.

In a separate announcement, association named Miles Sexton to president. He had previously served as interim president the past year.

“Miles knows the inner workings of the organization as a past member and chairman of the board,” said LeGrett. “His ability to problem-solve, increase collaboration among members and his deep skill set of developing strategic long and short-term plans have been invaluable to us as we navigate these choppy times. The SCBA is in great shape and poised for future growth under the leadership of Miles.”

Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper Presents Gala

The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint newspaper, a locally owned newspaper focused on the Black community, will present its eighth annual gala from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, as a virtual event. The theme is “Continuing a History of Service.”

The two-hour gala will feature recognition for individuals who have given generously and tirelessly of themselves, the newspaper said. Honorees will include Christine Henderson Pea, Charles Alexander and Paulette Cannon for Unsung Hero Awards and Bishop William Benson for the Good Shepherd Award. For event information, visit www.sdvoice.info/gala.

Now in its 61st year of continuous publication, is considered San Diego’s largest publication reporting on news from an African-American perspective. In 1987, the newspaper was acquired by husband-and-wife John E. Warren and the late Gerry Warren.

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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