Public relations consultant and strategic communications veteran Derek Danziger has been in the right place at the right time several times during his nearly 30-year career.
“I’ve been fortunate to use my skills for several major civic events in high-profile positions, plus work with many very skillful people and learn from them,” Danziger told Times of San Diego.
As a student studying communications and political science at UC San Diego, he learned public speaking and quick-thinking skills while working in the education and PR departments at SeaWorld San Diego.
“I conducted public presentations about animals and escorted celebrities and dignitaries on behind-the-scenes tours,” said Danziger. “The job meant being knowledgeable about the park and anticipating questions in advance.”
During his six-year stint (1992-1998) at SeaWorld, he was loaned for the 1997 calendar year to work in PR roles for the San Diego Super Bowl Host Committee in preparation for the 1998 Super Bowl.
“It was a life-changing experience to serve as director of media and PR for the Host Committee,” Danziger said. “The people I worked with were tremendous community leaders who were passionate about making the most of opportunities and taught me so much about the business and politics of San Diego.”
Then, in 1999, Danziger joined the Centre City Development Corp., a public, non-profit corporation created by the City of San Diego to staff and implement downtown redevelopment projects and programs. During his 13 years there, a downtown renaissance was underway, including the 2004 opening of Petco Park.
“Here I was, still a relatively young man, who was involved in hundreds of projects that would change the skyline of San Diego for generations to come,” Danziger said. “It was an amazing time.”
He then spent five years (2012-2017) as a VP at Nuffer Smith Tucker, San Diego’s oldest operating PR firm, followed by five years (2017-2022) as president of Katz & Associates, a marketing communications and public affairs firm.
Now, at age 50, Danziger is hoping his “right-time-right-place” streak will continue with his latest career change. He has decided to start his own consulting firm called Danziger Public Relations.
“I’ve been thinking for a long time about stepping out on my own, and I’m at a point in my life when I believe the timing is right to give-it a go,” he said. “After all, life is short and there’s no reason to wait.”
Danziger was reminded about the brevity of life in December 2016 when NST president Bill Trumpfheller passed away of cardiac arrest at age 53.
“It scared me enough and prompted me to see my own doctor and they found I had a torn heart value,” Danziger said. “I was only in my 40s, but my heart was functioning at about 60 percent and it could be repaired. It took about a year to recover from my open heart surgery in October 2018.”
Danziger already has several clients, including Civic Communities, San Diego County Crime Stoppers and AIGA San Diego Tijuana.
“I’m excited to use my experience in public relations, marketing, media relations and communications in the public sector, real estate and development arenas and with nonprofit organizations in order to make a meaningful impact on our community,” he said. “I also enjoy doing media and message training for corporate CEOs and organizational spokespeople, as well as crisis communications.
“I’m ready to use all my skills and abilities to tell great stories in effective, meaningful and creative ways. I genuinely care about the success of our community and want to make a positive impact.”
Gestalt Brand Lab Redesigns Packaging for BHU Foods
Gestalt Brand Lab, a San Diego branding and marketing agency, reports it recently completed a redesign of product packaging for BHU Foods of San Diego.
BHU’s products include vegan, organic, low-carb, low-sugar protein and cookie dough protein snack bars and bites, along with other health-focused foods, such as granola, hazelnut spread and cookie butter and cookie dough in a jar.
The company’s products are distributed at more than 8,000 retail and grocery outlets nationwide, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Publix, Walmart, Target, H-E-B and Wegmans.
In mid-2021, Gestalt’s first project for BHU was a carton redesign. According to Gestalt, BHU company leadership was impressed with Gestalt’s brand vision and began adding new products for redesign. Gesalt’s work for BHU has encompassed everything from individual packaging to caddies and cartons, for the company’s full complement of refrigerated and shelf stable retail and online channels, the agency said.
“We were blown away with how well Gestalt looked at our entire brand image and took a truly holistic approach to how we present ourselves across retail and e-commerce platforms,” said Laura Katleman, CEO of BHU Foods. “In short order, we knew we wanted them to develop a plan for refreshing our entire line, including new product rollouts.”
According to Chad Farmer, Gestalt Brand Lab creative director, “BHU Foods defines the art and craft of happiness with everything they do, from handcrafting some of the world’s best tasting healthy snacks in a sustainable way to ensuring transparent, eco-friendly and fair-trade practices at every stage of development and production, so consumers will feel good inside and out with every bite of BHU. We wanted the brand and packaging to match that inspiration with fun, vibrant, handmade art and writing that uplifts and helps everyone feel pure joy.”
Brian Munce, Gestalt Brand Lab managing director, said the goal of Gestalt’s brand and design work was to create a look that would pop-off the shelves and broaden the products’ appeal to a wider audience. “BHU Foods have so many offerings that are miles ahead of the competition in terms of quality, taste and nutritional value, and we wanted to ensure the new packaging look was eye catching to bring in potential new customers unfamiliar with the brand and its qualities,” he said.
BHU has about 40 different products. Munce told Times of San Diego that Gestalt has designed 19 products to date with guidelines for the client to use for flavor variations.
Radio Station 91X Celebrates 40 Years On The Air
Local Media San Diego, operator of four radio stations in San Diego, announced that XETRA-FM 91X has marked its 40-year anniversary on the air.
An company statement said, “On Jan. 11, 1983, XETRA-FM flipped to an alternative ‘cutting edge of rock’ format and forever changed the radio landscape.”
The statement also said, “Serving humanity from a radio tower on a big hill in Tijuana and broadcasting to San Diego, Southern California and the world, 91X has remained a cultural icon and boasts one of the most recognized radio brand logos in the world.”
“Making it to 40 years would not be possible without the contributions of many creative rebels over the years who have kept the flame going on this 100,000-watt radio blowtorch,” said Garett Michaels, 91X program director.
Gregg Wolfson, managing partner, president and GM, said, “91X represents the finest of our company principles to entertain, service, inspire and connect San Diegans through the power of live and local radio. What an incredible achievement for the many 91X team members that have made incredible contributions over the past 40 years. Thanks to all our listeners, artists, clients, partners and friends for all your support.”
In addition to XETRA-FM 91X, LMSD operates KFBG-FM Big-FM 100.7, XHTZ-FM Z-90.3 and XHRM-FM Magic 92.5.
AIGA Graphic Design Chapter Changing Name to Include Tijuana
The local chapter of the Professional Association of Design, a nationwide professional networking group now known as AIGA, has changed its name from AIGA San Diego to AIGA San Diego Tijuana.
A statement said the chapter’s expansion to compass both San Diego and Tijuana is an acknowledgement of the bi-national culture that has evolved between designers in the Southern California and Baja region. The new name also aligns with preparations for World Design Capital, a year-long designation that will include public events and legacy projects in San Diego Tijuana in 2024.
“AIGA presents both design communities with tremendous opportunities and value,” said MaeLin Levine, president of AIGA San Diego Tijuana. “We are committed to thinking outside of the box to maximize every opportunity to combine forces. The energy that the Baja design community brings is undeniable and invigorating. We envision a new model of cross-cultural intersection that benefits everyone.”
Founded in 1914, AIGA, with a membership of graphic designers in government, business and media, today comprises more than 70 chapters worldwide. AIGA San Diego was established in 1987.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.