YouTube video

Anheuser-Busch-owned Cutwater Spirits, a San Diego-based distillery known for its lineup of more than 20 canned, ready-to-drink cocktails, has launched a new advertising campaign called “Open the Bar.”

The campaign for Cutwater includes three, 15-second TV spots that begin with people at a ski resort, at the beach and a home entertaining setting. Then, the commercial shows someone opening s a Cutwater can and, suddenly, the set is transformed into a bar. An announcer says, “Cutwater, open the bar.”

MarketInk logo

A Cutwater statement says, “The spots highlight key drinking occasions where barriers to easy enjoyment of your favorite cocktail might exist. With just the cracking open of a Cutwater, they unlock and transform the bar experience, while celebrating the brand’s years of expertise, consistency and convenience with each sip.”

San Francisco-based creative marketing agency AKQA developed the creative. The spots were directed by Erika Zorzi and Matteo Sangalli, owners of Mathery Studio, based in Brooklyn.

“As the category leader, Cutwater is on a mission to make bar-quality cocktails more accessible by enabling consumers to finally enjoy the cocktail of their choice, whenever, wherever,” said Chad Lafeldt, VP of marketing, Cutwater. “In our new ‘Open The Bar’ campaign, we show that by simply opening one of our 20-plus award-winning canned cocktails consumers can enjoy bar-quality cocktails in occasions that were otherwise reserved for other beverages, bringing the best of the bar where they are.”

“As we continue to focus our efforts, Anheuser-Busch is committed to growing and investing in its Beyond Beer portfolio, with a major emphasis on category leaders like Cutwater,” said Monica Mody, group VP of marketing for Anheuser-Busch’s Beyond Beer Business Unit. “We believe in the power of the ever-evolving ready-to-drink category and are here to help educate consumers on the exciting space while bringing them a best-in-class line-up of offerings.”

The campaign includes television, social media channels, digital video platforms and point-of-sale retail. An Anheuser-Busch spokesperson declined to disclose the “Open the Bar” campaign’s media expenditures budget to Times of San Diego.

In addition to the ad campaign, Cutwater has unveiled a new visual brand design on its cans that feature a larger logo, bold colors and illustrations to show flavors and cocktail graphics. Also, the alcohol-by-volume is clearly marked, along with the amount of shots in each ready-to-drink can.

Cutwater’s more than 20 canned cocktail classics, distributed in 48 states, include drinks with vodka, rum, gin, whisky and liqueur. To date, Cutwater has earned more than 2,500 awards for its portfolio of products.

After 8 Months, KGTV-10 News Director Returns to Los Angeles

Bobbi Gearhart has left San Diego’s KGTV-TV ABC 10News as news director and will return to Los Angeles as VP and news director at KTTV Fox 11, starting June 12.

Bobbi Gearhart
Bobbi Gearhart

Gearhart stayed at The E.W. Scripps Co.-owned Channel 10 for eight months (her first day was Oct. 3, 2022). She replaced Todd Reed who left the station in late June 2022, after just four months as news director.

In Los Angeles, Gearhart will be reunited with Steve Carlston, senior VP and general manager of KTTV. Both of them previously worked at the NBC-owned KNBC-4.

Carlston spent 11 years as president/GM of KNBC-4 before taking the top leadership role in October 2022 at two Los Angeles Fox stations, including KTTV and sister station KCOP-TV, succeeding the retiring Bill Lamb.

Gearhart spent nearly a decade (2013-2022) at KNBC-4, first as an executive producer and later as managing editor. There, she oversaw a 70-person team of writers, editors, photographers and media producers.

Before that, Gearhart was a KTVU-Fox 2 in San Francisco, where she spent seven years (2006-2013) in executive producer and producer roles. At KTVU, she produced a four-hour morning news show (2010-2013) that held the No. 1 stop for three consecutive years and was recognized with an Emmy Award for best morning newscast.

Earlier in her career, Gearhart was a producer for KUSA-TV in Denver (2006), KVUE in Austin (2003-2004) and KMIR-TV in Palm Springs (2000-2003).

“Having previously worked together for many years, I am thrilled to reunite with my trusted colleague, Bobbi,” Carlston said in a statement. “She has proven to be a great news leader, a collaborator and great team builder. Bobbi’s tremendous knowledge of the Los Angeles market and years of experience in creating high quality content for a broad audience, will be a perfect fit to lead our team of great journalists.”

Gearhart will oversee all editorial, business and administrative functions at KTTV, reportedly directly to Carlston.

A graduate of San Diego State University, Gearhart said, “I’m honored to return to Los Angeles and serve the area where I grew up. I cannot wait to lead a team that will share the positive stories of all the communities that make this region great. Collaborating with Steve again gives us the opportunity to build upon the station’s success with our shared vision of how to tackle the fast changing media landscape.” 

Jimmy Dean billboard
A Jimmy Dean billboard promoting the spelling bee.

Jimmy Dean Cooked Up Misspelled Ads for National Spelling Bee

Jimmy Dean breakfast foods amped its recent partnership with the Scripps National Spelling Bee by featuring billboards in the Washington, D.C. area with intentional misspellings, including “brekfast” and “morneeng.”

As reported by Ad Age, an advertising industry publication, the billboards with typos include a QR code that rewarded those who correctly identify the mistakes with the chance to win free Jimmy Dean breakfast products and donate money to support childhood literacy.

According to Isaac Pagan-Munoz, executive creative director at Ogilvy Chicago, the agency tried to be playful but intentional in execution with the ads looking much like the brand’s mass-market ads, but with subtle, and not-so-subtle, misspellings in them.

“It challenges the audience in an insightful way, designed to bring out the best of them,” Pagan-Munoz told Ad Age. “Our brand is all about optimism, and our breakfasts give you the energy you need to be alert. So, the idea felt very true to brand, and authentic to the context it was placed in.”

Mihir S. Konkapaka, a 12-year-old from Mesa Verde Middle School in Sabre Springs, qualified for the national bee by repeating as winner of The San Diego Union-Tribune Countywide Spelling Bee. He correctly spelled exsufflation, a noun meaning “forcible breathing or blowing out (as in clearing the respiratory tract),” as the final word.

Last week, Konkapaka was eliminated in the fourth round of the national bee after misspelling chessel, a cheese vat, spelling it chestle.

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