CNN’s new “Facts First” campaign tackles the complexity of “fake news” with refreshing clarity in a spot that simply calls an apple an apple.
“Some people might try to tell you it’s a banana,” a narrator says in a video showing the fruit positioned against a plain white background. “They might scream banana, banana, banana, over and over and over again. They might put BANANA in all caps. You might even start to believe that this is a banana. But it’s not. This is an apple.”
CNN partnered with agency Figliulo & Partners for the 30-second spot, which will air in all markets reached by CNN, CNN International and CNN en Español, as well across print, digital and social platforms.
Spencer LaVallee, who directed the spot, said he worked with a creative brief that addressed the role of journalism and importance of a free press.
“The line between opinion and fact is becoming increasingly blurred,” he told AdAge. “So much so that we almost have to relearn what a fact is if we’re going to have a real debate. That’s why we used the simple imagery of an apple—it’s like the first day of school.”
The simple visual takes a stand against accusations of “fake news” and “alternative facts” from President Donald Trump against CNN and other news outlets that he says fabricate negative stories about himself and his administration.
Earlier this month, Trump threatened to revoke the broadcasting licenses of networks that publish unflattering reports.
CNN has been a consistent target of the administration’s claims. The ad is a distinct way of the network pushing back, with CNN President Jeff Zucker saying in a staff memo that the brand, “despite consistent attacks from Washington and beyond, has never been stronger,” AOL reports.
“In fact, CNN has never been more relevant, and the institution of journalism has never been more important to the national conversation,” he said. “As a result, we think there is no better time to take a clear stand for who we are and what we believe in.”
CNN has seen a ratings spike over the past year, and the most recent quarter was it’s most-watched ever.
Allison Gollust, CNN Worldwide’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer, told Variety: “We felt compelled to participate in that conversation with a brand campaign that reminds people who we are and what we do and why we do it.”
CNN had been considering a new campaign for months, and this will be the network’s main marketing slogan “for the near term,” Gollust said. The “Facts First” campaign is expected to grow with more promos featuring different executions of the concept.
And that’s the truth.