MSNBC’s “Lean Forward” Branding Campaign Goes Bolder

Have you seen the new promos?  Most notably, have you seen the ones featuring Lawrence O’Donnell talking about immigration and what it means to the soul of our country?  He also talks in another promo about how one of the first soldiers that was killed in Iraq fighting for our country happened to have been here “illegally” as a child.  Watch:

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The new promos, according to were shot by Spike Lee and were designed to take MSNBC’s brand identification to “the next level”:

The Spike Lee-directed promotional campaign for MSNBC, Lean Forward, debuts a new series of spots […], featuring Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz–each shot by Lee in iconic American locations, from the Hoover Dam to Washington, D.C. “These ads are unlike anything else,” said Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC. “They are mini-documentaries that express the passion of our primetime hosts. You’re able to truly learn what drives them and why their audience tunes in to watch their shows.”

I’ve often been a critic of MSNBC hosts when they have been too slow to cover immigration issues (if at all), like I have been with Rachel Maddow in the past.  However, let’s give credit where credit is due.  It was already bold enough that MSNBC was unabashedly embracing a progressive branding image, but for MSNBC and its host, Lawrence O’Donnell, to take an even bolder stand by running a promo that portrays immigration in such a positive light when it’s never been done before on such a scale, that’s something worthy of praising. 

You can watch the rest of the new branding promos with the other MSNBC hosts here.  What do you all think of the promos?

Update: so which soldier is Lawrence talking about when he says in one of the promos:

One of the first soldiers killed in Iraq was a kid who came to this country illegally, as a child. Went through our public school education system, entered the military, gave his life for this country. Congress, in a special bill, granted him citizenship, when he was in the grave. That was too late.

Most likely, he’s referring to Marine Lance Cpl Jose Gutierrez‏.  Via the Military Times:

Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, 22, a rifleman with the Marines, died in a firefight March 21 near Umm Qasr.

Born in Guatemala, Gutierrez held permanent U.S. resident status, which he obtained in 1999.

At 14, with his parents dead, Gutierrez followed the path of 700,000 of his countrymen to California. He made the 2,000-mile journey from his Guatemala City neighborhood without entry papers. He hopped 14 freight trains to get through Mexico. U.S. immigration authorities detained him.

Fernando Castillo, Guatemala’s consul general in Los Angeles, says the United States doesn’t deport Guatemalan minors who arrive without family. Gutierrez was made a ward of Los Angeles Juvenile Court. He was placed in a series of group homes and foster families. He learned English and finished high school.

When he reached 18, he got residency documents, Castillo said.

Read the rest of the Military Times piece here.