A lot of successful American businesses were started in a garage, including: Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Harley Davidson, Hewlett-Packard, Mattel, and Yankee Candle. But I’ve heard of only two American companies that were started in a dorm room: Dell and Squarespace. Anthony Casalena, the Founder and CEO of Squarespace, started his business from his dorm room in 2004. During the company’s early years, Anthony acted as the sole engineer, designer, and support representative for the all-in-one website publishing platform.
So, many internet marketers and video content producers were surprised when Squarespace announced a month ago that it would debut a new ad creative during FOX’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday, February 2. This marked the first time in the company’s 10-year history that it had advertised during the Super Bowl.
The national 30-second spot, entitled “A Better Web Awaits”, was set in an alternate universe that personified what people have come to love and hate about the Internet. As the hero is overwhelmed by a wild cast of characters, most viewers (including the ones in my family room on Super Bowl Sunday) recognized countless Internet archetypes and memes throughout the sequence of events. The ad was designed to convey what Squarespace stands against, and stresses the company’s belief in creating a better web.
“Our goal was to create a spot that was appropriate for the Super Bowl while also communicating our values,” Casalena said in a press release at the time. “The ad clearly establishes our mission as a company: Squarespace helps sets your website apart from the clutter we commonly find all over the web.” The campaign was spearheaded by Squarespace’s Chief Creative Officer David Lee. The creative concept was developed by Squarespace's in-house creative team and directed by Malcolm Venville. Lee said of the release:
We love the Internet, but I think we all agree that it can be a better a place. Our purpose is to make the web a bit more thoughtful and considered, one website at a time – that’s what we wanted to communicate with this spot.
After the Super Bowl, the campaign was continued nationwide and included TV, digital, social, and out-of-home components. The commercial was extended into a 60-second version.
Late last week, Squarespace reached out to gauge ReelSEO’s interest in speaking with Caselena. I immediately jumped at the opportunity. After a successful first-time Super Bowl ad buy which increased the company’s brand awareness by 50%, I was informed under embargo that Squarespace was unveiling its next ad creative. It started appearing at Daytona yesterday, February 23, on Hulu, social channels, taxicabs and movie theaters. Its TV debut will be on Shark Tank on February 28.
The new year-long campaign, “Details”, is a continuation of “A Better Web Awaits.” During the Super Bowl spot, Squarespace showed what the web looked like. The new creative focuses on Squarespace’s vision for what brands’ online presence should look like. Here’s the 30-second version.
And here’s the 60-second version of “Details”.
Both campaigns were spearheaded by Lee. The creative concept was developed by Squarespace’s in-house creative team and directed by Malcolm Venville. I also got to interview Casalena about his new $40 million marketing campaign -- which includes online video, advertising, paid search, event sponsorships, etc.
Greg Jarboe: How did your Super Bowl ad perform for Squarespace?
Anthony Casalena: Very well. This year, Squarespace debuted its first-ever Super Bowl campaign, joining a very small list of tech companies that have ever advertised at this level. We were #1 on Oracle’s Brand Tracker Index, as well as #10 in TiVo’s Top Ten Commercials during the game. We’ve seen a great boost in awareness, fantastic press, and a general lift in our business.
Greg Jarboe: Tell us about you new ad which debuted at Daytona.
Anthony Casalena: The ad we’re launching is called “Details”, and the creative is a continuation of the theme "A Better Web Awaits”. While our Super Bowl spot drew a distinction between the noise on the web we encounter today, and the world that Squarespace lets you create for website, "Details" focuses more on what Squarespace can do when it comes to truly illuminating the details behind what you do on your website.
Greg Jarboe: Can you tell us more about your year-long campaign, "Details"?
Anthony Casalena: “Details” will be a multifaceted campaign with TV, print, online, social, and outdoor components.
Greg Jarboe: How much do you plan to spend on this campaign in the coming year?
Anthony Casalena: Our marketing budget for the year is $40 million. I can only say that we will be spending a portion of that on “Details”. We adjust our spends dynamically throughout the year depending on channel performance.
Greg Jarboe: How will you measure the success of this campaign?
Anthony Casalena: Our campaigns are measured across two key dimensions. One is direct impact -- do we see a boost in subscribers or trials that we can directly attribute to the campaign? We use our internal data platforms to track this sort of thing. The other is brand awareness -- did we see a boost in brand awareness across our consumer surveys after running the campaigns. Both factors are tracked in different ways, and both are important.