In September 2017, Amazon announced it was in search of a second headquarters, setting off a frenzy among cities hoping to capture the tech giant’s gaze. The appeals for attention ranged from off-the-wall to more mundane, and right here in Birmingham, a group of economic development leaders tasked Big with crafting the city’s own response. Big envisioned a campaign that would not only work to attract Amazon with its creativity, but one that would mobilize our entire city behind it, both on and offline. And so the BringAtoB campaign was born.
We had to ensure the launch of BringAtoB caused a splash—a big one. The core idea from our chief creative officer, Ford Wiles, was simple but bold: Place a series of giant Amazon replica boxes in prominent spots throughout the city.
To give that unveiling a jolt of media presence, our PR team organized a press conference at Railroad Park, where city and county elected officials and business leaders, flanked by one of the giant replica boxes, announced Birmingham’s intention to go full-tilt at Amazon’s RFP.
With media relations in place, we turned our creative focus to a modern, social-driven component to help bolster the campaign. Utilizing Big web developer and technology DIYer Robert Brodrecht, Big assembled two oversized Amazon dash buttons for installation in key, high-traffic areas of the city. Passersby could then “press” the buttons, initiating one of hundreds of pre-generated tweets from the BringAtoB account. The tweets, speaking directly to Amazon, contained reasons why the tech giant should consider the city for its second HQ.
In addition to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts were also created, helping to popularize the #BringAtoB hashtag. To give the campaign a community element, locals were encouraged to use the hashtag and give their own reasons for why Birmingham should be considered. Through the duration of the campaign, the three social media accounts attracted over 4,600 followers, 874,000 impressions, and nearly 2,500 uses of the #BringAtoB hashtag.
And of course PR played perhaps the most significant role. The unconventional elements of this campaign naturally drew a lot of attention and struck a chord with a national media that was growing weary of Amazon news and gimmicks. This BringAtoB campaign was unique enough to cut through the noise, receiving mentions via USA Today, NPR, Seattle Times, Washingtonian and Good Morning America, among countless others. In all, an astounding 802 million media impressions were generated via print, online and broadcast media throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The campaign was so successful that it took us from the bottom of the considered set list to the the top of everyone’s most talked about list. And more importantly, the campaign helped Birmingham land an Amazon fulfillment center, which for the city and the state, is a huge win. One that results in jobs, new opportunities and progress – all boxed up and delivered on Birmingham’s doorstep.