The problem is, nobody has ever been inspired to sing, say, how "I Lost My Heart in San Diego". Sure, the city has Sea World, and a world-beating zoo, but in the popular imagination it is about as songworthy as Barnsley on a rainy Friday night.
The city says it wants something "upbeat and positive". That was the sentiment that, back in the 1960s, inspired Detroit to commission a song from Sammy Davis Jr called "Hello, Detroit". It sank without trace.
So what can San Diego do? What rhymes with San Diego?
The trouble, according to Mike Downey, a maliciously humorous columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is that San Diego has no identifiable image apart from the pandas in its zoo.
"It's not even a city that never sleeps," he wrote. "I have been to San Diego. It sleeps."