Keepin’ It Real? MSNBC Adds ‘Lean Forward’ Tagline

A little rebranding goes a long way. Brian Stelter reports this afternoon that, starting Tuesday, MSNBC will add the tagline “Lean Forward,” and roll out a new, two-year advertising campaign aimed at raising the network’s profile.

In some ways “Lean Forward” is a rejection of Fox News’ “Fair and Balanced.” To anyone who is used to media rebranding, “lean forward” is a nice way of saying audience engagement. Meanwhile, the network will continue to use the slogan “The Place for Politics.” 

The network showed a spark this time last week with the debut of Lawrence O’Donnell’s 10 p.m. show, The Last Word. Starting this week MSNBC display advertising will appear online in conjunction with commercials on television. One new commercial, according to Mr. Stelter, will show video of a child learning to walk cut together with war footage and video of Hurricane katrina aftermath.

Elsewhere, Keith Olbermann told New York magazine’s Gabe Sherman this week that when Dan Abrams was running the network in 2006, Mr. Abrams suggested the tagline “MSNBC: Keepin’ It Real,” but staffers were strongly opposed.

Earlier: A Dash of Rebranding at the Magazine Publishers Assocation — Time CEO Jack Griffin Arrives with Gusto

Keepin’ It Real? MSNBC Adds ‘Lean Forward’ Tagline