Since its debut last year, MSNBC's big-budget "Lean Forward" ad campaign has been praised, imitated, scorned and lampooned across the media spectrum. Its stated purpose, as conveyed by the ad agency behind it, is to crystallize the network's leftward identity without alienating mass audiences. Thus far that's manifested itself in epic montages of spaceships launching, flowers budding, JFK orating and American flags lifting (Iwo Jima style). Now, the Spike Lee-directed campaign is going for a more minimalist feel as the major faces of the network deliver short monologues about a core idea or value. Here's the first string of ads that will start appearing on NBC-owned channels today:

Chris Matthews

Rachel Maddow

Ed Schultz

Lawrence O'Donnell