The San Diego Tourism Authority, a publicly funded nonprofit, has announced plans to spend $8 million in advertising to promote San Diego as a tourist destination through the end of June.

The majority of the expenditures, roughly $6.27 million, will be dedicated to a new advertising campaign called “Happy and You Know It.”

The campaign is anchored by a 30-second TV commercial, which debuted this past Saturday during the final round of Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, when much of the country was enduring freezing cold temperatures. The spot features scenes of surfers, kayakers, roller skaters and bicyclists with the Pacific Ocean as backdrop.

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The theme song for the spot features a modernized version of the catchy nursery rhyme song performed by Michael Franti & Spearhead.

The spring media buy also will include the spot airing during the Super Bowl pre-game coverage, Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, NCAA college basketball March Madness tournament games and National Basketball Association regular season, as well as other primetime programming in select markets.

The campaign’s multi-media approach will include TV, digital, radio and billboards intended to reach western regional and national audiences with a focus on the key markets of Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco and Sacramento. The tourism authority expects the campaign to deliver 250.4 million impressions over the course of the next five months.

Julie Coker, president and CEO of the authority, said the new campaign builds on the “Sunny Outlook” brand the organization has been cultivating the past decade.

“Now more than ever, travelers are looking for places with diverse communities and people where they can escape and explore, and San Diego fits the bill for so many would-be visitors,” Coker said. “Our natural beauty, our outdoor offerings, world class arts and cultural attractions and our near-perfect weather makes for a vacation that is both happy and healthy.”

The tourism authority said data from Destination Analysts, a market research firm that surveys U.S. travel attitudes and behaviors, showed that Americans will be interested over the next 12 months in enjoying scenic beauty, warm weather outdoor activities, road trips, dining in regional restaurants, visiting historical sites and enjoying street food during their travels.

“Those type of experiences is exactly what San Diego has to offer,” Coker said. “This campaign will be key in getting that message out to potential visitors to ensure San Diego has strong visitation throughout the busy spring and summer months so our tourism industry can continue its ongoing recovery.”

The tourism authority said its “Happy and You Know It” campaign was developed after brand research conducted over the past year by its advertising agency, The Shipyard, an advertising agency that was previously called Mering in San Diego until its sale in December 2020 to The Shipyard, based in Columbus, Ohio. Dave Mering had operated the agency since 1985.

According to the tourism authority, focus groups consisting of leisure travelers in California, the West, Northeast, Southeast and Midwest were interviewed to determine attitudes and perceptions about the San Diego brand. The findings were that San Diego has a well-defined brand with focus-group participants describing San Diego as a “feel-good, friendly, vibrant place that is both laid back and lively,” said Kerri Kaptich, the tourism authority’s COO who oversees marketing efforts.

“The vibe and the product are in complete alignment with consumers’ sentiment, travel motivators and what is emotionally connecting them with a destination,” Kapich said. “San Diego’s brand has emerged stronger than it was before the pandemic, which means we have an opportunity to attract more visitors with our sunny skies and positive outlook.”

The tourism authority is funded in part by the San Diego Tourism Marketing District Corp. with City of San Diego Tourism Marketing District assessment funds.

Mamma Chia Gets Brand Refresh from Gestalt Brand Lab

Gestalt Brand Lab, a San Diego branding and marketing agency, announced it has completed a brand refresh and packaging re-launch for natural foods company Mamma Chia, based in Carlsbad.

The rebranding included refreshing the Mamma Chia goddess icon, updating the color palette and developing new packaging for all products ranging from Chia seeds, Chia beverages and Chia squeeze pouches.

Momma Chia beverage

Gestalt said all of Mamma Chia’s offerings are aligned under a master design aesthetic that was created to reflect the company’s dedication to inclusivity, diversity and body positively. Updated product packaging will appear in February on the Mamma Chia website and the shelves of such retailers as Vons, Frazier Farms, Sprouts and Whole Foods.

Gestalt officials declined to reveal a dollar amount representing planned 2022 advertising expenditures.

Founded in 2009, Mamma Chia officials said in a statement the time was right for a re-branding.

“For more than 10 years, Mamma Chia has been on an incredible journey to nourish the uplift the souls of our communities,” said Janie Hoffman, Mamma Chia founder and CEO. “We’ve embraced the need for branding that is more inclusive and empowering, and Gestalt was the perfect partner to help bring our vision to life. In terms of aesthetic, this is a dramatic shift for our brand, but it’s a shift that better reflects our core values. We believe there’s a place for everyone at the Mamma Chia table and this rebrand has us feeling energized and revitalized for the journey ahead.”

Gestalt managing director Brian Munce said, “For years, Mamma Chia has been one of the best functional products on the market with real benefits, but their branding and packaging wasn’t living up to the purposeful and intentional heartbeat of the company. Our new branding helps showcase their products to a much broader audience.”

Gestalt creative director Chad Farmer said, “We took the approach of ‘less is more’ with this project and, as a result, the Mamma Chia product truly stands out from all others on the market.”

Gestalt Brand Lab was founded in December 2019 by Farmer and Munce, two former employees of the Lambesis Agency, a high-profile San Diego advertising agency that closed in 2019. Clients include Luna Grill restaurants, Gaggenau, Grand Mariner and Jamba Juice.

New York Times is Advertising on Tik Tok for the First Time

For the first time, The New York Times, sometimes referred to by its nickname of Old Gray Lady, is advertising on Tik Tok, the world’s fastest growing video-sharing app popular with teenagers, Gen Z-ers and millennials.

The Times’ brand-marketing campaign, called “The Truth Takes a Journalist,” spotlights some of its 1,700 journalists as they film themselves using their phones.

As reported by Media Post, an advertising industry trade publication, the campaign also will include placements on TV and streaming sites, audio spots and digital billboards in New York City’s subway stations.

“This campaign celebrates the journalists who create the stories that help our readers understand the world,” said Amy Weisenbach, senior vice president, The New York Times Company. “The focus on the word `By’ personalizes who is behind the bylines readers see in the Times every day. These journalists are real people with passion for what they do, and they play a critical role in the pursuit of truth.”

Vincent Yang of Firework, a video streaming technology platform for retailers, said, “Their choice of platform is not just aimed at winning the hearts and minds of younger readers. It is the new emerging format for digital discovery where media is meeting ecommerce, too. Brands can take a big lesson learned from the best and brightest in media to reclaim their customers and re-engage them in the entire journey toward building vibrant digital communities.”

Tik Tok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd., reportedly hit one billion users in September 2021.

Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper Presents 2022 Gala

San Diego Voice & Viewpoint newspaper, a locally Black-owned newspaper, will present its ninth annual gala from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 4 as a virtual event. Event theme is “Continuing a History of Service.”

The gala will feature recognition for individuals who have given generously and tirelessly of themselves, the newspaper said. Honorees will include Laila Aziz and Tasha Williamson for Unsung Hero Awards, Precious Jackson-Hubbard for the Gerri Warren Humanitarian Award and Bishop A.B. Vines, Sr. for the Good Shepherd Award. Additional honorees will include the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Feeding San Diego for Organizational Excellence Awards. For event information, visit

San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, now in its 62nd year of continuous publication, is considered San Diego’s largest Black publication with a weekly print readership of more than 25,000. In 1987, the newspaper was acquired by husband-and-wife John E. Warren and the late Gerry Warren, who passed away in 2009 at age 62.

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