Squarespace Salutes What Makes Us Unique, Even If We’re Not, in Striking New Ads

Hey, we're snowflakes after all!

Headshot of Angela Natividad

“We’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.”

Remember that line from Fight Club, where Tyler Durden reminds us we’re not unique snowflakes?

Well, that’s true. It is also false. Anyone who’s ever felt the electric tingle of a creative epiphany shoot down their spines, and then discovered the idea already exists in some form elsewhere, will say the same thing: Sure, someone else has done it. But my approach is different. We’re all about as different as we market ourselves to be.

This is the core idea behind Squarespace’s latest message, “Make It.” The campaign is composed of two parts, tackling our sameness while zeroing in on how we still break the mold. The first set of ads, “Make It Stand Out,” is a funny approach to how original we aren’t, but somehow still manage to be.

Did you know there are 132 bands called Atlas? What sets them apart? Don’t say the music. The correct answer is … the website!

OK, “the website” is overly simplistic. What’s a website, anyway? It’s a visual shorthand for what separates the quirky, creepy Atlas (“Cake it away!”) from the testosterone-powered Atlas (“the illegitimate sons of Odin”). It doesn’t really matter which band you’d put on a playlist; what matters is that each Atlas finds its people.

Jamming’s not your thing? No worries, Squarespace knows its audience. Guess what, ad land—a whopping 65,924 people brand themselves as storytellers.

Driving this series home are the 10,987 entrepreneurs and hobbyists who call themselves magicians. Sure, they’ve all got black capes, and maybe they all levitate to varying degrees. But only one can summon a dove out of a hat while squawking like a chicken.

Far from discouraging creatives, the playful ads are meant to remind you that while many might offer what you’ve got, you’re the only one who can bring your own style, smarts and personality to the mix. (Tell that to Tyler Durden.)

The second component of the campaign sets the funny aside and drills into the granularities of actual makers and Squarespace clients. “Make It Yourself” highlights fashion designer Sadie Williams, restauranteur Danny Bowien and artist Daniel Arsham in ads that showcase what sets them apart from other designers, chefs and artists—and how that impacts their website design.

“I don’t want my fashion to feel like any other fashion,” Williams says, “so I certainly don’t want my website to feel like any other website. It’s simple but fun, modern but crafted. And colorful.”

Bowien brings his own weird, polished and unpretentious approach to the exhausted category of Chinese food:

As for Arsham? His website is a representation of his pieces. “I want it to tell a story. I want the audience to discover surprises within it.”

The links above, where their names first appear, feature Squarespace interviews with them for people who want to dig deeper. Meanwhile, the websites they’ve created express something of what you’ve seen here—personal and resonant approaches to their craft, in no way alike.

In keeping with her sector, Williams’ domain is bold, saturated and visual and enables you to see her latest collections in a few wanton clicks.

Bowien’s Mission Chinese Food site shines a spotlight on his two locations. The homepage image changes based on which locale you mouse over, lending local flair to his core concept. This isn’t your corner takeout shop…

Lastly, Arsham’s art site is almost bewilderingly conceptual, inviting clicks and curiosity.

The world, monopolized by Facebook, has grown bored with websites, and DIY website-building services have languished as a result. Squarespace, however, has powered on, aspiring to do for its sector what Moo did for business cards. (Who knew we’d still have those?)

In recent years, it’s brought us high-profile Super Bowl spots that featured Jeff Bridges, John Malkovich and Key & Peele. These aren’t just celebrities; they’re idiosyncratic icons who bank on their unique identities to cultivate niche fans while denting the cultural zeitgeist.

Those collaborations were well chosen. And while “Make It” may differ in the sense that it lacks instant celebrity appeal, its guiding force remains consistent: Like Squarespace, we’re all peddling something that’s been commodified and banalized. But it’s our oddities, aesthetics, neuroses—our very DNA—that gives us value worth peddling.

How’s that for a snowflake?

Squarespace Q3 2017 Brand Campaign: Make It

—Film Credits For “Make It Yourself”

“Daniel Arsham” :30, :20, :15, :06
“Danny Bowien” :30, :20, :15, :06
“Sadie Williams” :30 Uk, :30 Us, :20, :15, :06

Client: Squarespace
Agency: In-House
Creative Partner, Production & VFX: Manvsmachine
Grade: Daniel De Vue @ Glassworks
Edit: Vid Price @ Trim Editing
Audio: Zelig Sound
DOP: Kanamé Onoyama
Set Design: Stripeland
1St Ad: Ben Gill
Make-Up: Jojo Copeman
Styling: Anna Peftieva
Studio: Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden

—Film Credits For “Make It Stand Out”

“Storytellers” :45, :30, :20, :15, :06
“Atlas” :30, :20, :15, :06
“Magicians” :30, :20, :15, :06

Client: Squarespace
Agency: In-House
Copywriter: Brock Kirby
Art Director: Mathieu Zarbatany
Producer: Adina Birnbaum
Radioaktive Films
Director: Andreas Nilsson
Grade: Tom Poole @ Company 3
Edit: Ben Campbell @ Cut+Run
VFX: Artjail
Music Supervision: Buzzy Cohen @ The Teenage Diplomat
Sound Design: Henryboy (Storytellers)
David Papa (Storytellers & Atlas) @ Sonic Union
Steve Rosen (Magicians) @ Sonic Union
DOP: Lasse Frank
Production Designer: Alexis Ross
Art Director: Vlad Ryzhikov
1St Ad: Theo De Rose, Dennis Sonin
Line Producer: Jonathan Wang, Valeria Vinyukova
Costume Designer: Mr. Gammon

—Photography Credits For “Make It Stand Out”
Assets Used In Print, Ooh, Banners And Social

Client: Squarespace
Agency: In-House
Photographer: Akatre
Representation: Jb Romefort @ Carolelambert
Production: Artifex
DOP: Charles Billot
Producer: Lavanya Radhakrishnan
Set Design: Andrea Huelse
Make-Up: Alicia Campbell
Styling: Julie Brooke Williams
Studio: Root Nyc

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@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.