Squarespace, a web development firm that has advertised in the Super Bowl for the last two years, today debuts three new TV spots aimed at small businesses with a new campaign, "Build It Beautiful."
The TV spots were created by creative agency SpecialGuest and use slow-motion filming techniques to capture the essence of websites coming together into a finished product for real Squarespace customers. They feature Squarespace customers Apothecary Café and Wine Bar; Greater Goods, which makes natural beauty products; and Yield, which sells bags, jewelry and home goods.
Compared to its two previous appearances in the Super Bowl, Squarespace took a dramatically different approach to the creative in the new campaign. Rather than featuring people or talking about its website services, Squarespace and its agency used slow-motion filming to portray actual products featured on customers' websites flying through the air in disarray and coming together at the end of the spots to create a finished website.
"One of the core ideas we wanted to work with is based on the campaign idea -- building things beautifully," said Aaron Duffy, executive creative director at SpecialGuest. "The core visual technique was to create very slow-motion moments. When you slow things down, really intricate, beautiful things are happening in the frame."
For example, in the spot for Apothecary Café and Wine Bar, fruit, flowers, cheese and wine are seen moving through the air in slow motion. Seeds of a pomegranate, drops of red wine and individual flowers float through space and then coalesce at the end of the spot to create a finished place setting on a table. The spot includes music and a voiceover at the end saying, "Isn't it beautiful when things just come together? Build a beautiful website with Squarespace."
To create the spots, SpecialGuest used a Phantom Flex4K camera and shot 1,000 frames per second. For the Apothecary spot, the agency started out with a set table, including a plate of fruit and cheese, a glass of red wine and a vase of flowers. It used an air cannon to "blow up" the elements on the table, and used only one camera to capture the images, which it then edited to create the sequence in reverse motion of everything coming back together.
"There is a sense of authenticity to the things the viewer is looking at, not a post-produced feeling," Mr. Duffy said. "These are real customers, and we wanted the whole thing to have feeling of authenticity."
David Lee, chief creative officer at Squarespace, said the new campaign builds on the brand's previous efforts to showcase genuine customer stories. "On the higher end, such as with our [recent] Super Bowl campaign, we do collaborations with high-profile individuals such as Jeff Bridges to co-create a new product or company," he said.
In this year's Super Bowl effort, Squarespace ran a 30-second spot called "Dreaming with Jeff,"created by Wieden & Kennedy, which featured actor Jeff Bridges and promoted his Squarespace website, which provides streaming music and albums for purchase under the title "Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes." All proceeds go to the charity No Kid Hungry.
In its first Super Bowl campaign last year, Squarespace created a 30-second spot in-house called "A Better Web Awaits," which showed what a frightening and chaotic place the web can be, with annoying pop-up banners and malicious viruses. Squarespace, of course, can make the web less chaotic.
Mr. Lee noted that "Build It Beautiful" was referenced during the Jeff Bridges Super Bowl campaign. While the tagline was not included in the TV ad, it does appear on the bottom of the Jeff Bridges Squarespace site. "The concept is that any idea -- no matter what it is -- should be put out into the world in a beautiful way," he said. "With 'Build It Beautiful,' we felt it was really important to show how small businesses are using our platform to do amazing things and celebrate them as customers. Our brand is almost in the backseat."
Mr. Lee said Squarespace is still evaluating its Super Bowl strategy for 2016. "Overall, the Super Bowl has been fantastic for us in terms of brand awareness," he said. "We don't have anything to announce yet, but we are considering it [for next year]."