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VOL. 132 | NO. 203 | Thursday, October 12, 2017

Memphis Launches Public Campaign for Amazon Bid

By Andy Meek

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Memphis’ bid to land Amazon’s second U.S. headquarters got a new public component Wednesday, Oct. 11, with the launch of a social media push and the lighting of Big River Crossing in Amazon’s signature orange color to help raise the city’s profile amid intense competition.

The social media push is focused around use of the hashtag #MemphisDelivers. A collective of companies and community organizations have already begun participating in Twitter posts around the hashtag with the launch of the social media effort – companies and entities like Forever Ready Pro, Monogram Foods and Crosstown Concourse.

#MemphisDelivers logo (DCA)

The Downtown Memphis Facebook page posted a video of participants in a Downtown yoga class this week all exclaiming “Memphis Delivers!” that’s then replaced by a #MemphisDelivers graphic incorporating the famous smile embedded in the Amazon logo. Two smiles, actually, joined together to give the appearance of the Hernando DeSoto Bridge.

Amazon has said it plans on investing more than $5 billion and bringing as many as 50,000 “high-paying” jobs to the new campus, which will be known as HQ2. The city of Memphis has already formalized an incentive package that’s been approved by the Memphis City Council – up to a 30-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) abatement, $50 million in labor reimbursement and a $10 million investment to immediately upgrade the city’s transit and workforce infrastructure.

Big River Crossing was lit in the iconic orange color associated with Amazon on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The city of Memphis has joined several organizations to present an appealing package to Amazon in an effort to get the company to consider locating their second headquarters in the city. (Daily News/Houston Cofield)

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and the Greater Memphis Chamber expressed their interest in seeing Memphis recruit the e-commerce giant. With an Oct. 19 deadline approaching for cities to respond to Amazon’s request for proposals, more local community and civic organizations are rolling out the welcome mat with the “Memphis Delivers” campaign.

“As far as the whole effort for recruiting Amazon for the headquarters, that’s a citywide effort with all of our business institutions and business leaders and city government,” said Doug Carpenter, principal of the advertising, design and public relations agency DCA. “What we’re specifically wanting to do is urge people – our creative force – to help share what makes us different, what makes us interesting.

“We know when people visit Memphis, they leave with a profoundly different impression than prior to them getting here. We’re interested in demonstrating part of our culture and lifestyle and unique character in the world of the internet so Amazon has a sense for who we are.”

Amazon worldwide consumer CEO Jeff Wilke said at the 2017 GeekWire Summit in Seattle this week that the decision on a location for HQ2 will be based on data, not stunts. Some of the higher-profile stunts include one from the town of Stonecrest, Georgia, where local leaders earlier this month approved the creation of a new city named Amazon on which the company could build its headquarters.

Amazon will end up occupying as much as several million square feet in the city it chooses.

“What Memphis may miss on the standard checklist, we more than make up for in heart and soul,” said Penelope Huston, the Downtown Memphis Commission’s vice president of marketing, communications and events. “If you ask anyone what they love about Memphis – something about the spirit of the city and our people always comes up. Memphis delivers soul. And we deliver it in a way that’s simply unrivaled.

“We are excited about helping to grow what is already a super-strong cheering section for Memphis. We see the Memphis love and Memphis soul every day in Downtown and we really enjoy being able to help amplify those messages and voices in support of this campaign.”

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