MSNBC Enters Phase Two of ‘Lean Forward’

By Alex Weprin Comment

MSNBC is entering the second phase of its “Lean Forward” branding campaign, its first without former 8 PM host Keith Olbermann.

Director Spike Lee is returning to helm the new ads, along with a new director of photography: Matthew Libatique, best known for his work on the film “Black Swan.”

The new ads focus on Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz, and are set at various locales across the country, like the Hoover Dam:

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MSNBC president Phil Griffin spoke to B&C‘s Jon Lafayette about the new campaign (subscription required):

MSNBC President Phil Griffin says “Lean Forward” expresses a progressive, positive sensibility and a desire to work toward making America a better place. “This isn’t just a marketing tagline,” Griffin says. “It’s the way we want to approach how we do our job every day.”

It’s also the sort of marketing a channel can do when it’s gotten some ratings traction, he says. MSNBC is now the No. 2 news network behind Fox News Channel, ahead of CNN. “We’re finally part of the culture and people are aware of what we’re doing,” Griffin says, adding that the campaign’s first wave helped boost ratings and improve other measures of brand health.