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The website creation platform Squarespace surprised us all with the witty and original ad it aired during Super Bowl XLIX. The absurd humour of the concept cut through the Super Bowl clutter, and gave the ad the chance to live far beyond the parameters of a simple TV spot.
Squarespace partnered with actor Jeff Bridges to create an album entitled “Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes,” which featured a collection of sounds that foster relaxation before sleep. The concept behind this superb integrated marketing campaign is simple: it presents an eCommerce website on which Jeff sells his relaxation albums across various media. All of the proceeds from the sales went to charity.
The thinking behind this concept was that you can bring even the craziest ideas to life in a simple and elegant way. That’s what the Squarespace build-your-own-website platform offers, in addition to being a transactional site.
This is, first and foremost, an ad campaign, but the Jeff Bridges relaxation albums do, in fact, exist. Consumers can buy them in vinyl, cassette or digital formats on the site created by Jeff Bridges to help insomniacs catch a few ZZZs. All of the money raised goes to No Kids Hungry, an organization for which Jeff Bridges has been a spokesperson for years now and whose mission is to eliminate child hunger in the United States. The project ended up providing 90,000 meals to children in need. The campaign was cool enough to begin with, but the fact that it supported such a worthy cause made it even cooler, and eclipsed to a large degree the more commercial aspect of the concept.
The campaign was launched with a highly unusual ad during the Super Bowl, where we see Jeff Bridges sitting next to a sleeping couple, chanting “Om” while he bangs on a Tibetan singing bowl. The ad got nearly 100 million views. The video was filmed in a very sober style, with nothing but the brand’s signature in the closing frame. The impact of the spot was huge and cut through the charged and ultra-commercial environment that is typical of the Super Bowl. A very effective media buy indeed.
Other online content was created to promote the project and the functionality of Squarespace, including a how-to video detailing how the build-your-own-website platform works as well as two 30-second ads, including the one that aired during the Super Bowl.
This campaign benefitted from an amazing synergy between Jeff Bridges and the brand, which was looking for authenticity. The partnership is even more interesting in that it wasn’t just another ad that featured a star spokesperson—like Danica Patrick and GoDaddy, for example—which we see a lot of during the Super Bowl. The product was at the core of the message and Squarespace’s original approach generated significant media buzz and earned the brand a ton of industry awards.
There are a number of reasons why we are such big fans of this campaign. Beyond the media hype, the awards and the impressive number of views that it generated, the campaign went over and above in delivering on the insight that it’s easy to build a high-quality site to share your passion, no matter how crazy or bizarre it is.
The content platform was far richer than a traditional campaign and fostered media creativity across the platforms where the content was shared. A genuine ecosystem was created, where the Squarespace product shone as the silent star.
Though we tend to favour long-term strategic partnerships, the originality and ingenuity of this initiative won us over. The product serves as the backbone of the campaign, which lives on a number of platforms. The strong tie-in with a cause and the media buzz that the online campaign succeeded in generating are both interesting elements to consider when developing a sponsorship program.
We often forget the importance of the media plan and public relations as part of classic sponsorships, focusing instead on the event itself. The “Sleeping Tapes” initiative demonstrates the impact that a well thought-out media strategy and an original partnership can have in the market—especially when the campaign that comes out of it is so refreshing.
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