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Ad agency crafts cheeky Amazon ‘apologies’ to rejected cities

(MARKETING) Famed Austin ad agency, Jessee McGarrah crafts hilarious “apologies” on behalf of Amazon, and they couldn’t be more perfect.

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It’s finally official: in case if you’ve been living under a rock, Amazon’s HQ2 will be split between Crystal City, Arlington, VA and New York City, shocking no one.

Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Pittsburgh competed for the coveted HQ2 spot with generous tax incentives, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even said he’d change his name to to “Amazon Cuomo” if that helped New York’s case. Given the circumstances, there are bound to be some hurt feelings among the rejected cities.

For the 17 “finalist” cities that didn’t make the cut, the Austin-based ad agency, McGarrah Jessee created apologies from “Alexa,” on behalf of Amazon for each city. Even though the apologies aren’t actually from Amazon, you can still add the feature to your own Alexa through the Skills & Games menu.

Alexa’s apologies to each city are surprisingly snarky and on-point. Take LA, for example:

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“Los Angeles, hi, you look terrific. Absolutely stunning. Have you been at spin class? No? Spin class is so last year? You’re already on to the next spin class? Look, you didn’t get the part. What?! No. It didn’t have anything to do with you…you’ve never done sequels well…and we need HQ2 to be a hit.”

The HQ2 announcement (or rejection) was no surprise to Austin residents, as many were actively campaigning against HQ2, citing infrastructure issues and rising housing costs. This still didn’t stop Alexa from sarcastically mentioning Austin’s love for tacos and artisanal graffiti. Ouch, but also…well played. She even asked: “Can you Prime Now us some Franklin’s? For old time’s sake?” Don’t make this harder than it has to be, Alexa.

Alexa definitely goes for the “sorry, not sorry” approach, and we’re here for it. On that note, McGarrah Jessee’s latest shenanigan reminds us of the importance of humor in advertising and not taking one’s business, or city, too seriously.

As customers increasingly value authenticity and humor in marketing, this is a tactic to keep in mind as you’re advertising your business. Alexa’s language was funny, sarcastic, but not caustic: a unique balance to strike when writing copy.

It’s obvious McGarrah did their research, resulting in some solid inside jokes and zings to each city, and it paid off.

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Check out all 17 of the apologies here:

Elise Graham Kennedy is a business writer at The American Genius and is an Austin-based digital strategist. She's a seasoned entrepreneur, started and sold two companies, and was on a TV show for her app. You can usually find her watching The Office on her couch with her dog and husband.

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