'Love, Little Rock' Gets PRWeek Affection

'Love, Little Rock' Gets PRWeek Affection
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola (left) and Little Rock Regional Chamber CEO Jay Chesshir. (Lance Turner)

Millie Ward spurned Amazon in 2017, and now she’s getting some love for “Love, Little Rock.”

Her Little Rock ad agency, Stone Ward, captured the Best in B2B award last month in the PRWeek Awards for its “Love, Little Rock” campaign, which made a splash by urging the online retail giant to move on and be wooed by other cities.

At the time, American cities were swooning over a chance to win Amazon’s second headquarters. But Stone Ward and the Little Rock Regional Chamber made headlines by pointing out that both Little Rock and Amazon are great, but not perfectly right for each other.

Delighted PRWeek judges called the campaign “the best example of newsjacking in 2018.” In case you’ve forgotten, the “breakup letter” with Amazon let the company down easy. It opened with, “It’s not you, it’s us,” before detailing why central Arkansas, though lacking a few of the specifics sought by Amazon, should appeal to just about any other company looking for a place to do business.

Ward told Arkansas Business that the tongue-in-cheek rejection note, first published as a full-page ad in the Washington Post, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, got more than 1,000 mentions in print items, online stories and broadcast reports, totaling more than a billion potential impressions.

Amazon eventually picked two sites for its “HQ2,” in northern Virginia and in Queens, New York, but the Queens site fell through when residents and some officials objected. That development led to another round of notice for Little Rock.

“I think it’s great, and we’re overjoyed,” Ward said, noting that the campaign achieved other honors, including the Public Relations Society of America’s Bronze Anvil Award in the word-of-mouth category and a communications excellence award from the national Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. But she called the PRWeek Awards one of the communications industry’s top accolades.

Stone Ward, which also has a Chicago office, represents clients like the U.S. Soccer Federation, Sport Clips Haircuts, Snap-on Tools, Arkansas Blue Cross and Baptist Health.