CNN on Tuesday is announcing a new brand marketing campaign, one meant to highlight the cable news channel’s efforts with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The campaign, “We are CNN,” will include a 60 second spot called “The Screen Where It Happens,” as well as a 4 minute film called “The Work That Continues,” with each highlighting on-air talent, behind-the-scenes crew and senior executives.
The short film opens with CNN founder Ted Turner, speaking at the channel’s launch. “We hope that the Cable News Network will bring a better understanding of how people from different nations, can live and work together, in brotherhood, in kindness, and in peace,” Turner says.
The campaign was spearheaded by Johnita Due, CNN’s senior vp and chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer for WarnerMedia News and Sports. Due tells The Hollywood Reporter they conducted over 60 shoots in 6 countries for the film and spot.
“This is core to who we are and it is something we want the world to know,” Due says. “We want our external facing consumers to understand that internally we are working very hard to empower diverse and underrepresented voices, we are working very hard every day to make sure the stories we tell and the way we tell them, are making a difference.”
In a memo to staff Tuesday, Due and CNN chief Jeff Zucker wrote that “what differentiates us for our audiences and users is not just the stories we tell but what each of you contributes — and the personal experiences and perspectives you bring to our content and storytelling.”
“As the title of the short film states, the work must and will continue,” the memo continues (bolding theirs). “Our progress from past and current DEI efforts should inspire us all to do more. This work is the core of who we are today and what we can become. This is a collective responsibility we all share.”
Due says that while the company has produced sizzle reels highlighting its DEI efforts in the past, this is the first time that it will be showcasing them outside of recruiting events and trade shows.
“What we discovered last year with the video that we produced in the midst of a global reckoning on race, and in the midst of a global pandemic, was that this storytelling around our DEI efforts, and our commitment to them, can be so powerful that we didn’t want to limit it to just the occasional viewing at recruiting booths, or at speeches or panels,” Due says. “So this year we really embarked upon something bigger. We just thought this needs to be a large scale effort.”
It just so happens that the new campaign comes as CNN is in the midst of what Due calls a “seminal point in our organization’s history.”
“I don’t recall us ever having this many openings at once,” Due adds. “Not just because of CNN+, but we also have opening across linear. Recruiting is important to us, but more importantly we have decided that we want our audiences, and people externally, to understand what our values are. And diversity, equity, and inclusion have always been a part of our core.”