Idris Elba is a Big, Dreaming Kid for Squarespace
Kids have the wildest dreams. Ask a child what he or she wants to be when they grow up; you will get a wide range of answers, some as far fetched as mermaid doctor! However, as age claims them, those dreams are tampered down by reality and that mermaid doctor turns into a veterinarian; unless, you’re Squarespace, which dreamed up quite the ad with Idris Elba and Spike Jonze.
Instead of a Super Bowl ad this year, Squarespace dropped a commercial four days before the big game. Starring People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” Idris Elba and directed by cinematic genius Spike Jonze, Squarespace’s Dream It was a departure from past efforts. It took a far-reaching, dream-like approach versus a more traditional take.
“We [wanted] this campaign to inspire big dreams and even bigger actions and get across the message that you shouldn’t be limited to having dreams only when you’re a kid,” said Chief Creative Officer David Lee. In the ad, Elba lip-synced to “Que Sera, Sera,” as he dreamed about being a boxer, an astronaut, and more.
Here’s where this dreamt big…
1. Idris Elba – Elba is a star. Originating in darker roles from Luther, Beasts of No Nation and The Wire, he recently jumped into blockbusters (Star Trek Beyond, The Jungle Book) and is rumored to be the next Bond (has my vote). However, outside of acting, the Brit is a rapper, DJ, fashion designer and producer. As the wearer of many hats, Elba has personal experience of what it means to have many dreams. Throw in the title of Sexiest Man Alive – what a better spokesperson for your ad? He’s a great actor, movie star and sex symbol.
2. Spike Jonze & Dreamlike Filmmaking – Spike Jonze is second only to Ridley Scott for “Best Ad Director.” He’s done more ads than films (where he’s won an Oscar)! His skill set is perfect for both. He has a visual palette that works seamlessly between the two and his dream-like style was perfect. There was no crazy, out-of-this-world fantasy stuff in the ad. Instead it focused on dreams as goals, but moved and flowed like a daydream. The motivated blocking of Elba, whether reaching for something or bending down segued flawlessly into the next sequence. It could’ve been hokey, but in Jonze’s hands it wasn’t. It ebbed like the tide, easy and calming with Elba center-framed. Add in motivational lighting (boxer sequence), it was a treat to look at.
3. Music – “Que Sera, Sera,” was written for the Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song and finished #48 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs. The lyrics “I asked my mother, what will I be, Will I be pretty, Will I be rich, Here’s what she said to me, Que será, sera, Whatever will be, will be…” was definitely on the nose for the brand’s message, but it fit. Squarespace intended to use the song, but Jonze and the in-house team took it further, using a little girl’s voice “to help create an imperfect and fragile version,” said Lee. Masterful.
Here’s where this ad turned into a nightmare…
1. No Bad Dream Here! – I forgive the awful lip-syncing!
On the broad, commanding shoulders of Elba and in the delicate, artistic hands of Jonze, Squarespace’s Dream It tells us whatever will be, will be; the future’s not ours to see, but that is no reason not to dream!