American TV Videos: Idents

Left wing or right wing? MSNBC leans forward.

MSNBC reveals its new slogan.

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UPDATE: Fox News have responded with their own “Move Forward” spots.

American cable news network MSNBC recently unveiled a new slogan and brand positioning. Directed by Spike Lee, these new spots ask us to Lean Forward, and suggests that the “the future belongs to the fearless”.

Conceptually its a poignant and aspirational message, likely to be identifiable to those generally offended by Fox News. And while Jon Stewart isn’t thrilled with it, it’s hard not to like the idea, with comparisons to Think Different sure to arise.

Unfortunately I’m not sure the execution of these two promos, filled with stock footage and web clips live up to the gravity of the message trying to be conveyed.

3 replies on “Left wing or right wing? MSNBC leans forward.”

I’m not moved by the “lean forward” it’s a bunch of feel good nonsense, and stock video, but the move forward is inexplicable, Fox News is/was #1 in ratings, are they feeling the heat or what? Cable news is more or less a wasteland, I can’t even watch Rachel Maddow anymore without rolling my eye’s, and yelling back at the tv. I stick to Food Network and TNT.

Both ads are definitely a case of feelgoodism, but I do think that the MSNBC pieces are a bit more refined, though they could’ve done better with the video footage. Still, if anything, they’re more sincere.

Fox News’ stuff is, well, typical Fox News: everything is breaking, everything is an emergency, everything is designed to keep you on the edge of your seat wondering “what happens next?”. It feels like a bad action movie trailer. I think it also misses the point of the “lean forward” slogan.

In the US, news networks are known for which way they “lean,” politically. MSNBC is far left leaning, Fox leans far to the right, and CNN more-moderate-but-still-leftish lean. Taken from that point-of-reference, the MSNBC ads seem to be saying, “Its not about liberal or conservative politics – leaning left or leaning right – its about making progress as a people. Ergo, “leaning forward.”

Its a nice, aspirational message, and in that sense is well thought out. Sadly, news agencies have forgotten that they’re not supposed to lean, thrill, or enrapture us. They’re supposed to report. As Jim Lehrer (arguably the best journalist on US TV today) once put it, “I am not in the entertainment business.”

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