Lear, LaChapelle Court Youth Vote

Norman Lear is famously liberal, yet his “Declare yourself” campaign to encourage youth voting “will be scrupulously nonpartisan, because that’s the way you raise money,” he said.

So far, he has raised $35 million and garnered 123,000 downloaded voter-registration forms for a celebrity-based PSA campaign through independent Benenson Janson Advertising in Studio City, Calif. TV and radio ads launch in mid-July. Print follows in August.

The 10 print ads and three TV spots will be produced and directed by provocative photographer and commercial director Dave LaChapelle, known for his music videos for Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.

“The big hint at the creative is in our theme, ‘Only you can silence yourself.’ We’ll lead with ordinary people and spike it with celebrities, some who are new and emerging,” said chief creative officer Andrew Janson, whose agency has a burgeoning reputation for “cause” advertising through work for AIDS Project L.A., Planned Parenthood and the ACLU Scrapbook for Freedom (“I am not an American”). “You’re still dealing with a consumer who goes to Starbucks and watches MTV,” Janson said. “We have to find a way to engage and grab, with a very short dollar.”

Lear said the ACLU ads grabbed him and that his own “a fascination with genius” led him to LaChapelle. Asked if he watches music videos, the 81-year-old Lear said, “I have three kids at home. I can hardly avoid them.”