‘Welcome to WeTransfer. Please Leave.’ Roxane Gay Narrates the Service’s Ode to Life Offline

The poetic spot urges creatives to escape the captivity of screens

WeTransfer's new campaign, narrated by writer Roxane Gay, aims to get creatives away from the screen. WeTransfer
Headshot of Marty Swant

What ideas would we find if we were freed from the vices of our own devices?

In a new 60-second spot, WeTransfer wants to inspire its community of creatives to spend less time uploading their ideas and more time creating them. The commercial, which debuts today, is narrated by writer Roxane Gay, who reads a poetic ode to a better us—and to a world that’s about living in reality rather than just toiling away online.

The spot begins with a woman in a dimly lit room, her face lit up by a computer screen—a scene that feels all too familiar to many creatives who perhaps know they are too plugged in for their own good.

“Have you ever thought about the other you? A you that you felt truer to. What would you say if you saw yourself wasting away, stuck online, inhaling content. Exhaling time.”

Later, the main character begins to embrace creativity around her—dancing, photographing, running through fields, painting—before ultimately returning to upload her files to WeTransfer.

The spot, created with production house Stink Studios, will run on Hulu, Reddit, Pandora, Wired and elsewhere as part of a broader 10th anniversary campaign that aims to highlight how WeTransfer serves its user base of 50 million creatives worldwide.

According to Damian Bradfield, Gay’s pacing of the poem “dances through” the spot, providing a Seussian rhythm as a reminder that too much screen time isn’t a good thing.

“We talk about how you need to use the internet and software, but it’s super important that you go away so you can create something again,” he said. “Please take a breath. Take a break.”

The spot also anchors an accompanying Ideas Report, which includes responses from a poll of 10,000 people who work in creative industries. The results found that pressures from time, work and online distractions often kept creatives from pursuing ideas they’d rather spend time on.

Bradfield said the survey results found that 65 percent of creatives needed quiet. It also revealed that the most inspired ideas didn’t come from sitting at a studio or desk.

The campaign, he said, was driven by the recognition that social media is “perhaps not playing to its strengths and the internet not being used in moderation and we wanted to call that out.”

Bradfield said he’ll never forget a meeting he once had with a woman in cafe. He was running late, and as he walked by the window to walk inside, he saw her not mindlessly scrolling but instead staring outside adrift in some thought.

“My gut reaction was that it wasn’t a terrible thing that she wasn’t drowning in her device,” he said.

Client: WeTransfer
Agency: Stink Studios
Managing Director: Marlina Fletcher
Executive Producer: Iliana Hekimian
Executive Creative Director: Yego Moravia
Senior Art Director: Steven Olimpio
Art Director: Sara Haas
Producer: Paul Muhlbach
Editor: Matthew Hollis
Production Company: Imposter
Director: Thomas Ralph
Line Producer: Malcolm Wax
DOP: Nick Bupp
Media Agency: Noble People

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@martyswant martin.swant@adweek.com Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.