CNN's coronavirus ad quietly highlights the role of facts during the crisis

An all-typography spot underscores the importance of truth amid the confusion

Published On
Mar 26, 2020

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As the world struggles to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus, it hasn’t helped that misinformation around the pandemic continues to spread, with even leaders like U.S. President Donald Trump disseminating statements about the epidemic that public health officials and doctors consider misleading or flat-out wrong. 

It’s gotten to the point that news organizations including MSNBC and CNN have limited their coverage of the POTUS’ press conferences on the pandemic. Alex Koppelman, managing editor of CNN Business, had written into the networks’ “Reliable Sources” newsletter saying that “there is a very real possibility that in broadcasting these press conferences live or in quickly publishing and blasting out his words in mobile alerts, we are actively misinforming our audience” and the network. We need to ask ourselves whether we’re doing them a genuine disservice.”

As the networks become more careful about their coverage, last night CNN debuted a new ad in its “Facts First” campaign, an all-typography spot that quietly lays out the crucial role of facts in a world growing increasingly anxious and confused in the midst of the coronavirus threat. 

“In a time of uncertainty, facts provide clarity,” copy reads. “In a time of anxiety, facts comfort. In a time of misinformation, facts correct. In a time of division, facts unite. In a time of crisis, facts matter most.”

CNN’s agency FIG created the spot in less than 24 hours and it began airing on the network last night. The need for both expediency and gravity drove the decision to use text alone. The “Facts First” brand campaign debuted in 2017 with another simple ad that used the image of an apple as a metaphor for the propagation of false news.

The new spot will continue to run during CNN’s 24-hour coverage of the coronavirus and on the network’s social feeds.


Mar 26, 2020
Client :
Agency :
Founder :
Mark Figliulo
CEO/Partner :
Judith Carr-Rodriguez
CCO/Partner :
Scott Vitrone
COO/Partner :
Robert Valdes
CFO/Partner :
Richard Tan
CSO/Partner :
Caroline Krediet
Creative Director :
Ross Fletcher
Creative Director :
Howard Finkelstein
Design Director :
Max Friedman
Head of Production :
Jill Landaker Grunes
Senior Producer :
Wes Falik
Executive Director Client Services :
Finnian O'Neill
Associate Account Director :
Maxie Etess
Group Project Manager :
Dee Dee Swartz
Director of Integrated Business Affairs :
Sean McGee
Business Affairs Manager :
Noel Wilcox
Studio Producer :
Jessica Rosen
Sound Design + Mix :
Heard City
Mixer :
Mike Vitacco
Executive Producer :
Sasha Awn
Producer :
Andi Lewis
Original Composition Track Title :
Let Go
Music Company :
Future Perfect
Composer/Partner :
John Connolly
Producer :
Nargis Sheerazie

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