Raising the stakes in a bid to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to the city of Stonecrest, Mayor Jason Lary unveiled a hi-tech public relations blitz on Dec. 14 that he hopes will seal the deal with the company’s Seattle-based executives.
“This is a digital education campaign for a digital company and a city of the future,” Lary told reporters during Wednesday’s news conference at Stonecrest City Hall.
Lary earned widespread media attention in October when he offered to officially rename a de-annexed portion of the city “Amazon” if the retail giant agreed to build its highly coveted “HQ2” on the 345-acre site near Stonecrest Mall.
To further raise Stonecrest’s odds of being picked, Lary said the city has now teamed up with national marketing firm Smart Reach Digital to target Amazon decision-makers with appeals directed to their cell phones and mobile devices.
Smart Reach Digital will use a technology called geo-fencing that creates a virtual geographic boundary that enables software to trigger a response when Amazon employees’ mobile devices enter or leave a particular area.
Those who are inside the fence will be prompted to voluntarily open an email linked to pro-Stonecrest content touting the benefits of “Amazon Georgia” and bearing the company’s familiar “smiling” logo.
The latest announcement is part of an “aggressive” strategy by the South DeKalb city that is fervently trying to woo Amazon to its doorstep. Despite intense curiosity surrounding the project, Lary refused Wednesday to say how much the city’s outreach efforts to court Amazon are costing city taxpayers.
Lary had previously pledged to have Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, permanently installed as the unelected mayor of the proposed Amazon city. He also proposed that the city of Stonecrest run the city of Amazon’s municipal functions on a contractual basis.
If it happens, Lary claims Stonecrest would be “the first corporate city.”
Asked repeatedly by reporters about the price tag of the Amazon campaign, Lary repeatedly answered: “We have a marketing budget. We’re good,” and declined to offer any details.
Stonecrest is among scores of local and state governments nationwide and in Canada rolling out the red carpet for Amazon. Amazon said in October that it had received 238 proposals from cities, counties, states and Canada.
Georgia is among those who have made a formal bid for the company’s planned headquarters. The state has not said if Stonecrest was one of the sites it submitted in its package.
Amazon says the new headquarters will be a “full equal” to its Seattle campus, and that it will invest more than $5 billion to build the facility and create up to 50,000 “high-paying” jobs.
Economic development officials estimate that if Georgia lands the Amazon’s HQ 2. it could generate $50 million worth of investment over the next 15 years.
Amazon reportedly began visiting prospective sites in November and is expected to make a decision on HQ2 in 2018.