Squarespace Is Sitting Out the Super Bowl This Year—But It’s Launching New Work Featuring Idris Elba

Spike Jonze directed two films for the campaign

Squarespace won't be in the Big Game, but they still went big for a new campaign. Squarespace
Headshot of Katie Richards

After five consecutive years in the Super Bowl, Squarespace finally chose 2019 to be the year it would sit out of the ad festivities. That hasn’t stopped the brand from launching a major new marketing effort just days before the Big Game.

Today the brand unveiled new work with actor, DJ, kickboxer, land-speed record holder and People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Idris Elba. For past Big Game ads, Squarespace has tapped celebrities from Keanu Reeves to Jeff Bridges, so the star power is not out of the ordinary for the brand. The campaign includes two films (both directed by Spike Jonze) and a Squarespace website created by Elba.

In the first spot, “Dream It,” you won’t actually hear Elba’s voice. Instead the brand chose to feature the voice of a young girl (backed by The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf & Hearing Children) singing “Que Sera, Sera.” Elba mouths along to the lyrics as the film depicts him in different professions, from astronaut to boxer.

The choice of song was very deliberate on the part of the brand. While the message of the song is all about letting life unfold, and what will be, will be, the images in the film are all about the endless opportunities people have in life. It’s meant to focus on people “taking control of our destiny and pursuing what we want with it instead of waiting for life to unfold,” David Lee, chief creative officer for Squarespace, added.

“We wanted to revisit that childlike wonder and make parallels from these iconic childhood dreams to new ones people may have today,” he added.

In terms of the timing of the ad, Lee said the brand didn’t want to make a move that people would expect. “Participating in the Super Bowl for the past five years has been important for our brand, but it was almost expected that we would return this year. Instead of going for the more predictable route, we wanted to do something different,” said Lee. “We wanted to release creative that could extend beyond just one cultural moment, and [we] feel the caliber of talent in both Idris and Spike stands on its own.”

Outside of the artistic 60-second spot, Squarespace also launched a second more humorous film running nearly four minutes long. “Make It,” features Elba with English stand-up comedian Lolly Adefope. In the film, Adefope plays Elba’s assistant. She’s helping the actor create a website (which you can visit here) for a fashion line and basically trolls him throughout the entire conversation.

Added Lee: “Working with Idris gave us the opportunity to highlight someone with many aspirations. We’re able to showcase Idris’ various talents and communicate that any and all dreams—from small-business owner to world-record holder—are worth being pursued, and you can do it on Squarespace.”

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.