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An ad agency made Alexa apologize to all the losing Amazon HQ2 cities

An ad agency made Alexa apologize to all the losing Amazon HQ2 cities
[Photo: Jan Kolar/Unsplash]

When Amazon announced that it would be splitting its long-awaited HQ2 between Long Island City in Queens, New York, and Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia, it left 17 other “finalists”–who weren’t within throwing distance of Manhattan and Washington, D.C.–joining the chorus that perhaps the race to win HQ2 was less of a “contest” than originally advertised.

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What about them? Is this all they get?

Because Amazon is unlikely to utter even the most cursory “It’s not you, it’s me,” Austin, Texas-based agency McGarrah Jessee created custom apologies on Amazon’s behalf. Each apology is accessible through Alexa skills–and they can get oddly specific to each city.

To Toronto, it apologized for having to apologize to the stereotypically sorry Canadians.”How do you make amends to the emperors of apology, the sultans of sorry, the kings of confession, rulers of regrets, the overlords of excuse-me?”

To Austin, Alexa admits being creeped out by the city’s bats. “Okay, it’s also your bats. Honestly, bats just really freak us out. You say they’re regular bats, but what if they’re not? For all we know, you’re all secretly vampires. Like a sanctuary city for vampires who love tacos. Sorry, this is coming out all wrong.”

Amazon could receive more than $2 billion in tax incentives in New York and Virginia, the company said in its HQ2 announcement. These third-party apologies may work, but if you think that, say, massive government subsidies should be spent on affordable housing, education, infrastructure, and healthcare, as opposed to, say, luring one of the most valuable companies on Earth to the neighborhood, maybe the next apology should be for the residents of Queens?

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