In September 2017, Amazon announced it would open a second headquarters. The announcement promised thousands of new jobs and at least $5 billion in new construction. Cities across the country were doing everything they could to lure Amazon and the resulting economic boom, however Little Rock took a different approach.
While everyone was saying “yes” to Amazon, Little Rock decided to politely say, “no.”
Aerial banner in Seattle, Amazon Headquarters location
Instead, we created an economic development campaign showcasing what Little Rock has to offer and leverage all the attention that Amazon created during the selection process. We knew that site selectors would be watching the day all the RFQs were turned in.
Stone Ward quickly came together and created “Love, Little Rock” in just two weeks. The creative strategy centered on a first person, tongue in cheek “break up” letter to Amazon insisting, “It’s not you, it’s us,” while showcasing all the benefits Little Rock can offer – just not to the scale Amazon was asking for as home to HQ2. All campaign elements centered around the break-up letter that ran October 19, 2017 (RFP deadline) in the Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Our media team coordinated and worked with outdoor vendors to donate outdoor space throughout the city as well as purchasing an aerial banner that flew over the Amazon headquarters in Seattle.
“It’s not you, it’s us.”
Love, Little Rock Announcement Press Conference
Ultimately, the integrated campaign went viral and surpassed all set objectives. It attracted the attention of numerous national publications garnering major notoriety and impressions. Soon after, Amazon developed two facilities in Little Rock that employ more than 900 and 1,000 people respectively, and has a major additional facility under construction, which will employ more than 2,500 people. Saying no so cleverly definitely got us noticed by Amazon and other site selection consultants and made a huge impact on the region’s economy and city pride.
“Brilliant. (It) taught us all a lesson we needed.”