Mediha DiMartino

Staff Reporter

Mediha DiMartino covers media, marketing, auto dealers, government, nonprofits and education. She can be reached at

Phone: 949-833-8373 Extension: 224

Recent Stories

Local Businesspeople Skydive to Decompress

Divers Hone Skills, Make Pals Like POTUS

Most executives associate the term parachute with a golden one they can count on if they part ways with the company they’re running.

Action-Sports Brand to Broadcast Events on Facebook

MEDIA: Two web series are also in works

Nitro Circus has pulled yet another stunt. The actions-sports entertainment company signed a deal with Facebook to broadcast 28 events on the social media giant’s Facebook Watch video app.

Ad Firm INK Bets On Its Own Creativity

MARKETING: Starts with businesses it knows best

A Laguna Beach-based ad agency that’s helped numerous entrepreneurs take their brands to the next level is now cultivating its own business ideas.

Boardriders, With New Execs, Ready to Ascend

APPAREL: Billabong purchase closes; companies co-locate

Boardriders Inc., just before the recent closing of its purchase of Billabong and after the January disappearance of President-elect Pierre Agnes, named its new executive leadership team and is contemplating co-locating the combined company in Boardriders’ Huntington Beach headquarters.

Pang for ‘Green’ Cosmetics Grew Into Retail Brand

Got Lift With Letter Sent to Paris Boutique

Most cosmetics startups consider landing on Sephora shelves as a benchmark of success. For Laguna Beach-based Ilia Beauty Inc., the nod came from Colette, an influential Parisian boutique frequented by Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and other fashion gurus.

Execs Orchestrate Soul-Soothing Downtime

Moonlighting Gigs Build Client Bases, Help Charities

Orange County is the birthplace of a number of national headliners—No Doubt, Cold War Kids, Sublime, The Offspring and Social Distortion.

Bigger Newport Film Festival Draws Local Sponsors

Eight Days of Flicks Include New Theater

Several Orange County companies are taking lead roles in producing the upcoming Newport Beach Film Festival.

Karma Company Store Fits Right in on Tony Mile

AUTOMOTIVE: Gets traffic from nearby dealers

Karma Automotive LLC’s landing in Newport Beach was a good one—so good it’s in the process of doubling its presence there.

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Now Showing at SC Metro: Appliance Showrooms

Manufacturers Say High-End Cluster Lifts All Kitchens

The Costa Mesa theater district, home to Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory, has added another showroom to its repertoire—the Fisher & Paykel Experience Center, where a reference to a high note is more about a 36-inch stove’s British thermal unit output than about a vocal range.

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Experian Ads Portray Its Service as Cyber Savior

Spots Point Up Frequency Of Online Data Thefts

Experian PLC’s latest round of TV commercials continues its spotlight on the proliferation of personal-data theft and its credit-monitoring service, which uses proprietary technology to peruse content posted on parts of the internet not indexed by conventional search engines.

PE Firm Reduces Interest in Trade Show Operator

MARKETING: Onex down to 65% of Emerald Expositions

Onex Corp. is further reducing its stake in Emerald Expositions Events Inc., less than a year after the San Juan Capistrano-based trade show operator completed its initial public offering and started trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Kawasaki Motors Gets Unexpected Oscar Limelight

OC Operator Helped Keep One Speech Short

Did you recognize the Jet Ski Jimmy Kimmel offered for the shortest acceptance speech at the 90th Academy Awards?

Execs Get Flyboy High Outside of C Suite


Most of us, at least as children, “have looked at the birds and thought that they might be having more fun,” said flight instructor Michael Church, who’s helped a number of Orange County-based executives follow through with the fascination by getting a license to operate their own set of wings.

Vans Celebrates Women With Skating How-Tos

Clinics in Observance Of International Celebration

Vans Inc. in Costa Mesa has scheduled more than 100 skateboarding clinics in Brooklyn, Chicago, London, St. Petersburg, Shanghai, Bangalore, São Paulo, Mexico City, and other major cities to “inspire a new wave of women’s skateboarding progression.”

Skincare Brand Drunk Elephant on Sales Binge

RETAIL: Puts second HQ in Newport Beach; $100M in 2018?

Orange County’s where the party’s at, just ask the folks at Drunk Elephant Holdings LLC.

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Oakley Visualized Olympics Exposure Sans Big Spend

Competitors Wore Its Goggles on the Slopes

Oakley Inc. wasn’t a sponsor of the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, but its oval-shaped logo got plenty of airtime. Nearly a dozen athletes won medals while wearing Oakley’s Harmony Fade goggles, including Chloe Kim, who won gold in the snowboard halfpipe, skier Mikaela Shiffrin, first in giant slalom, and snowboarder Red Gerard, who won in slopestyle

Ad Shop Plays With Cutting-Edge Tech

MARKETING: Sees opps where rivals fear to tread

Think of Super Toy Box as a digital ad shop that picks up technology-heavy assignments traditional advertising agencies tend to shy away from.

PacLife Celebrates Sesquicentennial This Year

Insurer Started in Sac, Moved to NB in 1972

Pacific Life in Newport Beach plans to celebrate its 150th birthday all year long.

P.J. Salvage Founder Taps Apparel Vet as Successor

RETAIL: Not just PJ’s, now ‘bed to brunch’

P.J. Salvage hired Simon Cohen as president in November, the first shift in top management at the Irvine-based apparel manufacturer since Peter Burke bought it out of bankruptcy in 1997.

Taco Bell Execs Shift After CEO Moves to Chipotle

RESTAURANTS: Former Starbucks VP joins elevated vet

Taco Bell Corp.’s January shuffle in the top ranks was apparently a sign of things to come.

J.D. Power Takes Its Auto Data Expertise to China

Partners With BitAuto Holdings on Digital Projects

J.D. Power in Costa Mesa formed a partnership with China-based automotive website BitAuto Holdings Ltd. to “build the most efficient automotive big data center and artificial intelligence platforms serving China’s automotive industry.”

OC Companies Take Advantage of Super Bowl Fever

Various Tacks to Get Vast Audience’s Attention

Several Orange County-based companies were part of the enormous marketing push around Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4.

Loss of Leader Leaves Boardriders in Murky Waters

APPAREL: Head of newly combined surfwear giant lost at sea

Boardriders Inc. lost President Pierre Agnes less than a month after the Huntington Beach-based action sports giant announced a deal to acquire main competitor Billabong International Ltd. in Australia.

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Realty One Promotes Its ‘Coolture’ in Times Square

Billboard Campaign 20K Plays on Several Screens

Realty ONE Group launched a series of video ads on Times Square digital billboards last month in New York to get noticed by industry professionals attending the Inman Connect conference at a nearby hotel.

Old Boys Club

They call themselves The Old Boys. Just don’t confuse them with the stuffy office crowd your father’s generation had to contend with.

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BJ’s Enlists Little Heroes to Peddle Lighter Selections

Preschoolers Talk Up New Menu in Latest Ad

A new TV commercial by BJ’s Restaurants Inc. in Huntington Beach employs Generation Z to test its new EnLIGHTened menu, which is “loaded with vegetables and grains.” Spoiler alert—it passed.

Volcom’s Paris Owners Fish For Buyer After Six Years

APPAREL: Will Costa Mesa designer come back home?

Kering SA announced this month it will spin off Volcom LLC, the Paris-based owner of the Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Brioni brands.

Porsche Products Arm Moves to OC, Shifts Mall Location

RETAIL: Porsche Design sells merchandise, not cars

Shortly before Porsche Motorsport North America left Orange County for Carson in 2016, another brand-inspired outfit moved in—Porsche Design.

Product Appraiser Adds Apps to List of Its Subjects

J.D. Power Certifies Exceptional Offerings

D. Power’s Power Circle Ratings serve as a seal of approval on various products and services, most notably in the auto industry. The Costa Mesa-based market research company is now looking into customers’ satisfaction with apps. It launched the Mobile App Certification Program, which recognizes brands providing “an exceptional mobile app experience.”

Oakley Video Opens Window Into Inner Workings

Oakley Inc.’s headquarters in Foothill Ranch was featured in the most recent video the eyewear and helmet manufacturer posted on its social media channels.

Good Karma in Carmaker Leadership Change

AUTOMOTIVE: CEO hands wheel to fellow turnaround man

Tom Corcoran did what he came to do—get Karma Automotive LLC up and running, and ready for the next big leg of its journey: China.

BPOY 2017 Marketing: Steve Jun

Agency Boss Reeled in Big Fish

Steve Jun transferred to Huntington Beach in 2015 to help boost INNOCEAN Worldwide Americas’ growth beyond its core automotive account, Hyundai Motor America Inc.

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Marketing: Marisa Thalberg

She Loaded Up That Taco

Taco Bell Corp. “wasn’t a turnaround job” when Chief Marketing Officer Marisa Thalberg took over the reins in June 2016. Systemwide sales that year at the Irvine-based Mexican-themed fast food chain were up 6% to about $9.6 billion.

New Dealership Offers Classic and Vintage Cars

AUTOMOTIVE: Makes pricey statement ‘about OC car culture’

On a recent evening at the Morris and Welford dealership in Newport Beach, no one was kicking the tires, opening engine hoods, peeking into the glove box, or tinkering with the car radio.

Airport Advertising Contract Is Up for Bidding

JWA Ads Land $1M+ Annually for County

John Wayne Airport and the county of Orange are looking for a new partner to pick up an advertising concessions lease.

2018 Economic Preview: Retail & Marketing

We’ve all heard and read “Amazon” and “death of bricks-and-mortar” in the same sentence many times this year. Expect the rhetoric to continue in 2018, all while brands and retailers continue to adapt to the new normal.

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Santa Would Approve: Milk on Mag’s Holiday Issue

Food & Wine Wrap To Celebrate Its Charms

A takeover of Time Inc.’s Food & Wine magazine’s holiday issue is the newest installment of the California Milk Processor Board’s “Food Loves Milk” campaign.

Karma Names CEO

Irvine-based Karma Automotive LLC tapped Liang Zhou to replace Thomas Corcoran as chief executive of the luxury carmaker.

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Vans Brand Cues Up Song Lists for Apple Listeners

Chosen to Be One Of 60 Curators of Playlists

House of Vans, a string of music venues hosted by Vans Inc. in Costa Mesa, is now one of more than 60 curators for Apple Music, tasked with perusing 40 million songs available on the streaming platform and developing playlists that its audiences would appreciate.

Galardi Group Gets President

Galardi Group Inc. appointed J.R. Galardi president, replacing Dennis Tase who retired in May 2016.

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Kia Chatbot Kian Helps People Navigate Choices

Developed With CarLabs To Follow NiroBot

Kia Motors America Inc. just upped its chatbot game.

Vans Closes Out Long ‘Warped’ Tour Sponsorship

Experiential Marketing Run Lasted 23 Years

Apparently all things must come to an end, including Vans Inc.’s Vans Warped Tour.

Karma Fits Self Onto PCH ‘It’ Spot

AUTOMOTIVE: NB stretch grants needed early exposure

Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach is looking more like the Bloomingdale’s of luxury auto brands nowadays, and Karma Automotive LLC naturally had to be part of a stretch that’s like no other.

Blizzard Enlists Tech Heavy-Hitters for Esports League

HP, Intel Hardware To Power Players’ Efforts

HP Inc. and Intel Corp. signed on as sponsors of Blizzard Entertainment Inc.’s Overwatch League, a professional video gaming competition with esports franchises in Boston, London, Los Angeles, Miami-Orlando, New York, San Francisco, Seoul and Shanghai.

Advantage Solutions Buys Complementary Company

Advantage Solutions Inc. will buy Daymon Worldwide Inc. on undisclosed terms in a deal that links two private equity-backed big players in brand and retail sales and marketing work.

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Tech Execs Turn Dynamic Duo in Anniversary Video

Tu, Sun Animations Star In Spot on YouTube

Fountain Valley-based Kingston Technology Inc. featured animated versions of co-founders John Tu and David Sun in a YouTube video celebrating its 30th anniversary.

South Coast Plaza Book Unveiled on Ocean Tour

Segerstrom Family Exec Gives Reporters Sneak Peek

Elizabeth Segerstrom, co-managing partner at Costa Mesa-based C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, invited about 50 of her closest media contacts and friends on a two-hour sail Halloween night on Foggy, a boat designed by famed architect Frank Gehry.

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Kia Runs Up Score On NBA Sponsorship

AUTOMOTIVE: Adds 3 years to deal; cites its winning results

Some things just go together: milk and cookies, Trump and Twitter, Kia and the NBA.

Shoemaker Lands Famous DJ for Fitness Spots

Steve Aoki, Athletes ‘I Move Me’ Campaign Stars

ASICS America Corp. in Irvine signed on Grammy-nominated DJ Steve Aoki as the face of its “I Move Me campaign” in North America.

GG Company Grows On Tesla Product Work

GG Company Grows On Tesla Product Work

A deal with “a major electric car company in Northern California” is poised to spark substantial growth in revenue for a Garden Grove-based manufacturer of high-performance polymer products.