Home » Northern Virginia and Amazon: As Good as it Gets


Northern Virginia and Amazon: As Good as it Gets

by | Jan 23, 2019

Hello and welcome to my second weekly column celebrating great work created by marketing agencies headquartered throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area.  As I said in my debut column, my goal is to promote great work by local agencies. Not work created by my agency, SmithGifford, but good work from any and all agencies in our area.

This week I want to showcase a terrific video produced by D.C.-based agency Subject Matter for the extensive collaboration of state, regional, and local partners that was assembled to submit Northern Virginia’s successful bid for a new headquarters for Amazon.  As everyone can recall, it was an intense competition among scores of cities and regions that garnered national attention.

In November of last year, Amazon announced the winners: Northern Virginia’s Arlington and New York’s Long Island City.  The two locations would split duty as the company’s second headquarters locations.

For those of who live and work here, the choice was no big surprise.  In many ways, it was part of a “business as usual’ attitude that we’ve experienced for the last 20 years.  During that time our region has seen a dramatic image change, and the Amazon move is a wonderful exclamation point to that rich history.

Nonetheless, decisions as big as this one don’t just happen, especially considering the competition. The campaign to convince Amazon to choose Northern Virginia was a massive effort by a large group of companies and people.  And I have to believe that one of the key ingredients of that campaign was this incredible video by Subject Matter that, unlike most advertising and marketing efforts, was targeted to a single audience: the Amazon executives who would decide where to build their next headquarters.

The video, entitled “What’s To Love About Northern Virginia” is a one-minute-plus visual and musical excursion that takes viewers through a literal A-to-Z journey highlighting all the exciting, eccentric, enjoyable, colorful and wonderful things that make our area such a great place to live and work. Check it out here.

It’s ironic that this kind of great work is lost on those of us who live in the area.  We never get to see it because we’re not the target market.  And that’s unfortunate and kind of sad.  This video should run on TV in a shortened version throughout our region.  Why?  Because it will help us come together and commit to serving as ambassadors of our region.  It’s a perfect example of wonderful and inspiring work that reinforces our belief in what makes Northern Virginia so great.

Thanks and congratulations to Subject Matter Chief Creative Officer Kevin Richards and his team for putting their passion and creative prowess to giving our region such a substantive and significant boost. This is as good as it gets.

About the Author

Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the Founder of Smith Gifford, with close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies. He's won literally every award out there, Cannes, Clios, One Show Gold, Silver and Bronze, ADDYs, ADDYs and more ADDYs, and even Pillar of the Community and Best Places to work twice. A fourth generation Washingtonian, he can't spell or understand grammar, having spent the first 10 years of his life in schools in France and Germany. Even though "Learning three languages before age 10 messed me up bad," Matt has written a hugely successful website called WoodyBoater for the past 13 years, for which he was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.


  1. Kevin

    Thanks Matt! Great to be on the good list.

  2. Vineeta Anand

    Terrific video. Kudos to Kevin Richards and his team.


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