Spike Lee reacts as the New York Knicks play against the Boston Celtics in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2011 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

*MSNBC today launches the second phase of its brand campaign under the slogan “Lean Forward” with commercial spots directed by Spike Lee.

Several of the ads star the network’s primetime hosts – Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz, but the campaign also includes general ads. [Watch several below.]

Oscar-nominated Matthew Libatique (“Black Swan”) serves as director of photography for the campaign.

“These ads are unlike anything else,” said Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC. “They are mini-documentaries that express the passion of our primetime hosts.”

The Matthews commercials were shot in Washington D.C. and sees the host discussing the discourse in the upcoming 2012 election. O’Donnell – shot in New York City – opines on education, immigration and health care, while Maddow – at the Hoover Dam – discusses the importance of a national focus on infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Lee shot Schultz in his hometown of Norfolk, Va., where he spoke about the problems facing the middle class and the need to create jobs.

The ads will run on MSNBC and msnbc.com, as well as other NBCUniversal networks and in cinemas during the summer movie season.

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