Amazon HQ2: Why Little Rock Said ‘No Thanks’ in a Full-Page Washington Post Ad
“Dear Amazon: It’s not you, it’s us.” That was the message left by Little Rock, Ark. in a full-page Washington Post ad Thursday, marking the city’s departure from consideration for Amazon HQ2, the proposed second headquarters of the e-commerce giant. “Amazon, you’ve got so much going for you, and you’ll find what you’re looking for,” said the ad, which was actually a quick and clever rebranding for Arkansas’ capital city.
In fairness to Amazon, Little Rock was never really much of a contender. Amazon’s request for proposal outlined a list of requirements, including a metropolitan area population of more than 1 million people, a less than 45 minute drive from an international airport, and up to 8 million square feet of office space for expansion.
Regardless of whether Little Rock fits that bill, the city leadership used the opportunity to highlight its favorable attributes to other companies, instead of fawning all over Amazon. “We’re happy knowing that many great companies find our natural good looks, coupled with our brains for business irresistible,” the ad said.
In fact, when Little Rock began to look at what Amazon’s requirements were, the city recognized that while it wasn’t necessarily a good fit for the Seattle-based company to call home, other firms might be willing to set up shop in “the Rock.”
And that brainstorming resulted in an entirely new branding campaign, “Love, Little Rock,” created in just the last 9 days. Though it reads like a breakup letter, the Washington Post ad was actually a debut for the city’s new look.
Will Amazon and Little Rock eventually find love? Probably. The top cities in the running for HQ2 are all much higher profile metropolitan areas than Little Rock. But the city is just fine with that, it says. “When we started really thinking about what our future would look like, we realized it would probably never work out between us,” said the ad.
Hear that, other companies? Little Rock is available.