While sitting inside the restaurant a.kitchen+bar in Rittenhouse Square, Olivia Bumgardner took a picture of the street outside through a window. She posted it on Instagram with the caption, “There’s Philadelphia charm behind every shop window, every nook, and every cranny.”
For Bumgardner, Philadelphia is home to a variety of determined and passionate people. But she thinks it could also be a second home for Amazon, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies.
“Like so many, I love Philadelphia,” said Bumgardner, a sophomore public relations major. “It’s time for Amazon to realize how proud we all are of the city we live in.”
Last month, Amazon announced that it was looking for a second headquarters, in addition to its current one in Seattle. This announcement sparked competition among cities nationwide. In an attempt to convince Amazon to choose Philadelphia, Temple students and Philly Ad Club — a nonprofit advertising agency in Philadelphia — have launched a social media campaign using #PhillyIsPrime. Through encouraging other students to use the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, awareness of the campaign is growing.
“We have started something that could change Philadelphia for the better,” said Dana Saewitz, the advertising department chair and a Philly Ad Club board member who got students involved with the campaign. “But we are also showing the world what our city has to offer.”
On Instagram, the 154 posts containing #PhillyIsPrime are accompanied by students immersing themselves in the city. Many posts are of landmarks in Philadelphia, like City Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, while others capture students on Main Campus or eating food in Center City.
On Twitter, students have posted reasons why they think Amazon should come to Philly. They have pointed out some of their favorite parts about the city, like sports teams, food and the bars and posted photos of the Philadelphia skyline with captions like, “Imagine waking up to this every morning, Amazon.”
Justin McAneny, a 2005 journalism alumnus and member of the social media committee for Philly Ad Club, originally suggested the campaign to Saewitz after a Philly Ad Club meeting last month, where it was decided to create a big project before 2018.
He said he didn’t expect anything to come out of their conversation.
“Her face lit up and she said, ‘Yes, that’s a great idea. Let’s do it,’” McAneny said. “So we decided to start a committee and then we let the students take over.”
With the promise of 50,000 new jobs and $5 billion in capital expenditures, major cities across the country from Oakland, California, to New York City are trying to convince Amazon to build headquarters there. But McAneny said that #PhillyIsPrime is different than other efforts.
“While most cities are using economic reasoning to attract Amazon, we are using the aesthetic this city has to attract them,” McAneny said. “We want to show them the culture that Philly has to offer. We want Amazon to know that their employees will be happy here. And that is something a lot of other cities have forgotten about.”
#PhillyDelivers is another Amazon-related social media campaign run by the Mayor’s office that focuses on businesses in Philadelphia.
McAneny added there is no better way to show Amazon what Philadelphia is like than by getting students involved on social media.
Although the campaign is only one month old, McAneny said he has also noticed businesses and other students at different schools, like Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, using #PhillyIsPrime on Twitter and Instagram.
“That was always the plan,” Saewitz said. “Once we started the campaign at Temple, we wanted to branch out and get the rest of the city involved.”
McAneny added that no matter the outcome, he has been continually impressed with the quality of work that Temple students have produced.
“This is how we want to reach Amazon,” Bumgardner said. “This is why we came here to Philadelphia and this is why Amazon should too.”