It is now safe to say that MSNBC’s massive “Lean Forward” campaign has pushed the right buttons with its competitors. Fox News was the first to react with a subtle reworking of the slogan to “Move Forward,” and now, nearly two weeks after the launch of the original campaign, it is CNN that defines itself against both leaning and moving themselves forward– instead, providing that movement/leaning to The Truth.
The ad definitely defies MSNBC’s (and Fox’s) stylistically, and seeks to answer what exactly it is that is doing the leaning/moving. “Some lean left; some move right,” the text reads, “pushing their partisan agendas forward.” It then observes that “that’s a lot of leaning,” and offers instead to move “truth forward.” Unlike both the MSNBC and Fox News ads, there is no narrator, and only a classic rock track setting the mood in the background.
If the purpose of the “Lean Forward” campaign was to prod the competition into reacting, it could not have worked better. Both Fox News and CNN now have started to construct their identities around “Lean Forward,” violently trying to distance themselves from each other by playing a word magnet game with the slogan. We’ll have to wait and see what the other two networks do now that CNN has upped the ante with a direct object, but a prepositional phrase and some adverbs can’t be far behind (“Boldly Moving Truth Forward– For America”?)
The new CNN ad below:
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