THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL | Wayne Risher
Civic boosters on Wednesday announced a #MemphisDelivers campaign to marshal grassroots support for the city’s effort to land Amazon’s $5 billion secondary headquarters.
They lit up the Big River Crossing on the Harahan Bridge with Amazon orange starting Wednesday night.
“Today we are extending an open invitation to organizations, companies, individuals and Memphians in our community to share how they believe Memphis delivers on Amazon’s request,” said Doug Carpenter, founder and principal of DCA (Doug Carpenter & Associates), a creative communications consulting firm that’s leading the campaign.
“While Memphis is not able to compete with some cities on a ‘check the box’ criteria, we do offer a very unique and appealing environment that is especially appreciated once experienced,” said Carpenter. “Simply stated: You can’t put us in a box. But Memphis delivers.”
Campaign supporters include Choose901, I Love Memphis Blog/Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Memphis Commission, Memphis Medical District Collaborative, Memphis Grizzlies, New Memphis Institute and Crosstown Concourse.
Organizers are asking for Memphians to show their love for the city and Amazon across digital channels using the hashtag #MemphisDelivers.
Amazon has set an Oct. 19 deadline for cities to submit bids for HQ2, which the online retailer says would create 50,000 jobs with salaries of $60,000 or more over the next 10-15 years.
The Memphis City Council has approved an incentive package worth at least $60 million, in addition to incentives that might be offered by the Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County, county government, the state and nearby Mississippi cities.
Bikers and pedestrians traverse the slow incline on the Arkansas side of the Big River Crossing on the Harahan Bridge. (Photo: Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)
While the Memphis bid is considered a long shot, the city is touting transportation and logistics advantages including home base of global shipping giant FedEx, a central location, low utility rates and affordable housing.
John Carroll, executive director of City Leadership and the Choose901 campaign, said: “Our entire organization is built around choosing Memphis. We’re excited to share that enthusiasm with Amazon and the rest of the world. We plan to rally our neighbors to participate, and you can bet that all Choose901 brand identity will be changed to orange.
The "I Love Memphis" blog will seek to involve a collective 80,000-member social media audience in the campaign, blogger Holly Whitfield said.
“I know that when someone visits Memphis for the first time, they leave with a far deeper positive impression of our city than they ever knew possible,” Whitfield said. “I want Amazon to feel that impression through the people who know Memphis best.”