Things got pretty wild as cities fell all over themselves to land Amazon’s second headquarters. Creative techniques included an orange Empire State Building, noisy hockey fans, and many, many videos.
Following six weeks of frenzied public courtship of Amazon, which is looking for a site for its second headquarters, were the cities of North America out of advertorial videos, Twitter hashtag marketing campaigns, and aerial stunts?
No, they were not.
Detroit Moves. … Meet me in McKinney (Texas). … BringA(mazon)toB(irmingham).
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The growing economic clout of Amazon, and the unprecedented nature of its promised $5 billion, 50,000-worker HQ2 campus, captured the imagination and advertising dollars of mayors across the country ahead of the Thursday deadline. New York City lit up the Empire State Building in Amazon orange. More than one economic development official flew to Seattle to hand-deliver documents.
It’s unclear whether Amazon will disclose the identities or even a tally of its bidders, but a recent count found more than 150 municipalities interested.
In the meantime, here’s how some of them tried to stand out from the crowd as the clock ticked down to the midnight deadline.
Amazon delivers many packages. Some cities had a bit of fun with that.
Tacoma, for instance.
Others slotted the delivery theme into a branding campaign. The Triangle Delivers, the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., metro area, declared:
Cities are also aware of Amazon Prime, the company’s $99 a-year membership program that offers speedier delivery and other perks.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said earlier this week that “Newark is prime for Amazon’s HQ2 development,” making the case, along with $7 billion in tax breaks offered to Amazon, for the state’s largest city.
He would be joined by rival bidders up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
Charlotte is Prime, Mayor Jennifer Roberts declared.
Connecticut is Prime, Gov. Dan Malloy replied.
Sacramento dropped the verb, advising residents: #SacramentoPrime.
During a timeout in a hockey game on Tuesday evening in Ottawa between the Vancouver Canucks and the Ottawa Senators, fans were asked to make some noise for Amazon, according to a Twitter user who captured the scene.
Calgary, in a position of disgrace as the lowest volume setting in Ottawa’s noise-based campaign, fought back with its own pitch. The capital of the Canadian oil industry peppered Seattle with an advertising campaign that included stenciled messages on sidewalks and a banner plastered over a building in Amazonia in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
There were videos. Many videos.
Detroit focused on themes of innovation and renaissance, dropping in a bunch of Amazon’s favorite buzzwords and inside jokes (Day One, for Amazon’s mantra to work as if you’re just starting out, and relentless, a one-time candidate for the company’s name).
Nevada’s largest city invited Amazon to move to a concept as much as a community: “Las Vegas is one of the most recognized brands in the world,” the city’s video declares.
“Anything is possible. Just look at the architecture.”
Winnipeg, Manitoba, took an Amazon Echo speaker on a tour of the city.
There is more to come. A technology trade group in New Jersey had hoped to charter a plane to circle Amazon’s headquarters on Friday dragging a banner saying “ComeToJerseyJeff.org,” but the pilots asked for a delay because of the rainy, windy weather forecast for Seattle on Friday. They plan to try again on Monday.