Surfer Sam in New York
Surfer Sam in the snow in New York City. Courtesy San Diego Regional EDC

San Diego’s tourism and economic development agencies are joining forces with a national advertising campaign to convince talented tech workers to visit San Diego — and then apply for a job here.

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation is partnering with the San Diego Tourism Authority on “Just Say No to Winter,” a campaign targeting mid-level technical talent from New York, Chicago, Boston and other metros facing harsh winters.

“Last year, San Diego saw nearly 105,000 unique job postings for STEM-related occupations,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the EDC. “With tech heavyweights such as Qualcomm, Illumina, Viasat and now Apple who all cite talent as a major reason for their presence in our region, we must continuously strive to remain competitive by attracting, retaining and developing skilled workers.”

“Plus, as a Boston native, I can confidently say that it is possible to have a great career without freezing every day,” he added.

The campaign was launched at the end of January and includes digital marketing, advertising inside subways in Chicago and Boston, and the website

The tourism authority has placed a  30-second TV spot with the tagline “Happiness is Calling” on cable across the country, and even in Canada, the United Kingdom and China. The ad showcases San Diego beaches, Balboa Park and the USS Midway Museum.

“Our region is a top travel destination, and it’s also home to numerous tech and life sciences companies that are doing great, life-changing work,” said Kerri Kapich, chief operating officer at the tourism authority. “We often hear travelers say that they fall in love with San Diego when they visit and wish they could do business here, which is why we’ve partnered with EDC. Together, we’re encouraging more people to visit San Diego and see for themselves that San Diego really is the best place to live, work and play.”

The campaign includes an interactive component in New York. If you spot “Surfer Sam” amid the snow, you can win two roundtrip domestic flights to San Diego on JetBlue, along with a three-night stay at Pendry San Diego luxury hotel and gift cards to various local restaurants and attractions.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.