It’s been big news all over Minnesota, and especially in Winona. Stranger Things star and hollywood icon Winona Ryder returned to her namesake town to film a commercial for Squarespace last month, and now the webpage giant has released the advertisement- along with a short film, behind the scenes video, photo book, and supplemental website.
Publications from People Magazine to The Minneapolis Star Tribune to Adweek to Mpls St. Paul Magazine -and dozens more- have all taken notice of this quirky yet big budget campaign featuring Ryder and the island city of Winona, Minnesota.
The Star Tribune reports, “Clad in Minnesota-made Red Wing boots, Ryder snaps photos of signs and buildings around town: Winona Outfitters, Winona Mall, Winona City Hall, Winona Fire Department.”
People Magazine writes, “Ryder, who enjoys photography when she’s not busy acting, spent a week in Winona, snapping the city’s sights and people for a book of images that will be sold through her site made with Squarespace — an all-in-one platform to build your online presence — with proceeds benefiting the American Indian College Fund.”
The ad that will air during Super Bowl LIV features Ryder lounging in a snow bank under a sign welcoming travelers to Winona. She is approached by a concerned local police officer, and explains to him that she is building a website. See both the 30 second and one minute ads below…
The short film places Ryder at a diner, getting feedback from a waitress about the “Welcome to Winona” website she is creating. The film shows Ryder in the streets of downtown Winona, in a field outside of the city, at a local bowling alley, and more. It features local places and residents like The Winona 7 movie theater, Winona’s mayor Mark Peterson, and puppeteer Tim Turner among others.
The teaser/behind the scenes video, released before Squarespace launched the other pieces of the campaign, interviews local Winonans about the hubbub of having a famous star filming the big-time advertising campaign in their city of 27,000. Ryder says in the piece, “I think Winona represents a lot of towns that have a lot going on and a lot of creative energy and great places.”
The website Ryder is creating in the advertisements is a fundamental part of the campaign. It features a quirky and gritty view, yet dynamic and heartfelt tribute to the city where she was born and named after. On the website are numerous shots of Winona and Winonans with fun and engaging photo captions.
In a press release about the campaign Squarespace says, “Welcome to Winona features Winona Ryder as she returns to her namesake of Winona, Minnesota. Winona captures the essence of her hometown through photography as she builds her first website, welcometowinona.com.” Ryder is quoted in the release saying, “Growing up in a small town, you come to value the independent businesses that make a place like Winona thrive.”
Of course, we love Winona Ryder. We love that she came “home” for this Super Bowl campaign. We love the ads and we love her website. We think that there are just so many awesome facets to Winona that we made our own website too!
We are inviting people to use the hashtag #WelcometoWinona and post their favorite Winona photos – we will collect from those photos and our own inventory to create our own photobook showing other perspectives of Winona – other people’s “True Winona.” We will donate any proceeds to local causes and initiatives.
And get this, one lucky winner will have their own opportunity to find their own “True Winona”, when we give away an all-expenses-paid trip to Winona including airfare, lodging, passes to everything, and even meals. To register, go to www.welcometotherestofwinona.com and fill out the form offered through a sweepstakes link at the top of the homepage.
Winona is excited for the opportunity to be featured on such a grand scale. We are also excited to say that we are GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!