What's Up With Those MSNBC Ad Spots?

By Megan McArdle

So MSNBC has all these ads with their hosts talking kind of obliquely about how much Republicans suck.  Rachel Maddow complains that China gets to stay up late and build giant hydroelectric projects, but . . . someone . . . won't let America do it any more.  (GOP to America: You're grounded until you shape up and close that deficit, buster!)  Lawrence O'Donnell complains that health care didn't go far enough because it isn't "global", whatever that means.  Ed Schultz complains that the rich aren't creating jobs anyway, so raise their damn taxes already.


But the Al Sharpton spot--in which he compares the GOP to kids with blueberry pie all over their face--seems to take it a little farther; it's a fairly direct political attack.  I saw it for the first time today, and I was struck by two things:

1.  MSNBC is now attempting to brand itself as more overtly political than Fox.  Leave aside the issue of whether this is an accurate assessment of the news coverage of those two organizations--I'm not familiar with any Fox promo campaign that largely consists of more or less stating that Democrats are ruining the country.

2.  They sure do run a lot of these spots.  Why does MSNBC have so much empty ad space compared to other cable channels I occasionally watch?  Or am I just seeing more MSNBC ads because I tend to watch more of it than other channels?

The rebranding campaign has been running for about a year now.  I wonder if it's translated into profits?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/12/whats-up-with-those-msnbc-ad-spots/249874/