SEATTLE - A small airplane towing a banner with a message saying no thanks to Amazon was seen flying over downtown Seattle Monday morning.
The banner read, “Hey Amazon. It’s not you. It’s us.” The url lovelittlerock.org was at the bottom.
But what does that mean?
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Amazon kicked off its hunt for a second headquarters in September, promising to bring 50,000 new jobs and spend up to $5 billion. Proposals from cities, states and regions were due last weeks to land.
Little Rock, Arkansas was one of the cities that put its hat in the ring, but on Thursday, city leaders made it known in a big way that they were no longer interested by taking out a full-page ad in the Washington Post.
The ad, which reads like a breakup letter, was headlined, “Hey Amazon, we need to talk.” (See full text of the ad at the bottom of the story.)
It started out saying that there were a lot of things that would make Little Rock and Amazon great together, but then the hammer came down.
“But when we really started thinking about what our future would look like, we realized it would probably never work out between us,” the ad read in part.
According to Fortune.com, Little Rock never had much of a chance. Amazon’s list of requirements included that there be on-site mass transit, a less than 45-minute drive from an international airport, and up to 8 million square feet of office space for expansion.
When the city recognized it might not be a good fit, it used its good-natured "dumping" of Amazon as a way to launch a new branding campaign, “Love, Little Rock,” as a vehicle to point out what the city could offer to other firms that might want to set up there, Fortune said.
The breakup letter to Amazon was the launching of that campaign. Perhaps they just wanted to break up in a slightly more personal way.
The text of the full page ad in the Washington Post follows:
It’s not you, it’s us.
We know, we know, when you originally sent out your offer for cities to send in proposals for your future HQ2, we were all over it.
After all, you’re Amazon. You’re smart, sexy, and frankly, incredibly rich. And thanks to our booming business environment, tech-savvy workforce, diverse, creative culture and flourishing downtown, there are a lot of reasons why we’d be great together.
But when we started really thinking about what our future would look like, we realized it would probably never work out between us.
You want 50,000 employees for your new campus. We have a sizable, resourceful workforce, but if we were to concentrate them here, it would be a bummer. Our lack of traffic and ease of getting around would be totally wrecked, and we can’t sacrifice that for you.
You want on-site mass transit at HQ2. Here, there are many transit options that fit our city perfectly, and thanks to our compact urban footprint, many of our residents can easily get to the office on foot, on a bike or just by a quick drive. It would be cool if we could offer that, but we simply can’t do that just to make you happy.
Amazon, you’ve got so much going for you, and you’ll find what you’re looking for. But it’s just not us.
We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks, coupled with our brains for business, irresistible.
If another expansion opportunity comes up and you’re ready to join the visionaries, dreamers, romantics and the idealists who know that bigger isn’t always better, give us a call. We would love to find a way to make “us” work out.
We wish you all the success in the world.
Love, Little Rock
KIRO 7 reached out to the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce about the banner seen over the city Monday, and officials confirmed confirmed the banner was funded by the Little Rock Regional Chamber.
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