CNN's spare ad makes a big statement about masks

Latest from FIG in the 'Facts First' campaign replaces fruit with face coverings

Published On
Jul 31, 2020

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CNN’s first ad in its “Facts First” campaign centered on an apple. Now, the broadcaster shifts the focus to another simple object—a mask.

In the brand's latest spot, CNN delivers its own safety message as the coronavirus continues to spike around the U.S. and the death toll has surpassed 150,000.

The new spot follows the familiar framework of the original: object against a stark white backdrop, piano track playing while a V.O. pipes in.

Frame after frame we see different masks appear. One reads "I (heart) Fauci," another says "Black lives matter," and yet another is adorned with an American flag. 

“A mask can say a lot about the person who wears it. But even more, about the person who doesn’t,” the voiceover says. End copy then reads, "Please wear a mask."

“The brief from CNN was pretty direct,” says Scott Vitrone, CCO of FIG, CNN’s creative agency who conceived the “Facts First” campaign. “They simply asked us for a spot highlighting the importance of wearing a mask. It's a fact that wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

Yet the message goes beyond mere safety. Since the outset, the campaign has quietly snapped back at the current administration. The “Apple” ad debuted after CNN had been a regular target of the POTUS’ fake news accusations, while more recent spots reminded viewers to look to facts, not Twitter, for information on COVID-19, seemingly responding to the President’s Twitter spree about “collusion” when the rest of the world was becoming increasingly concerned about the spread of the coronavirus.

Like other “Facts First” ads before it, this one also slyly seems to admonish the POTUS. Only a little over a week ago did Trump wear a mask in public for the first time during the pandemic.  Prior to that, he’d long exasperated critics concerned about the message his failure to do so was sending to a country still trying to tackle the virus. 

We can only imagine how this spot would have gone down had it dropped before Trump finally donned a face covering.