In its first campaign for MSNBC, Mullen captures the attention of prime-time viewers with stark images of the war in Kosovo and the shootings at Columbine High School.
The goal of the Wenham, Mass.-based agency was to convince people who want 24-hour news to choose MSNBC instead of CNN or Fox cable channels, said agency principal and chief creative officer Paul Silverman.
Mullen art director Amy Watt and copywriter Spencer Deadrick crafted the three 30-second spots now running on NBC and MSNBC in just four weeks time as an interim campaign until a more extensive brand campaign is developed, agency executives said last week.
Each spot flashes footage from a recent event set to a dramatic musical score. Instead of a voiceover, single sentences scroll down the side of the screen. In the Columbine ad, the text reads: "Guns? Videogames?
Parents? You'll need more than a sound bite." Ads target viewers ages 25 to 44 who have watched tragedies such as Columbine unfold and wondered, "What the heck is going on?" according to Mullen copywriter Spencer Deadrick.
Coincidentally, CNN just kicked off a $25 million campaign, developed by Boston agency Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, with print ads in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. The CNN campaign will run through the end of the year and feature TV, radio, magazine and outdoor ads. It targets baby boomers with the tagline, "You are what you know."