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Levi's PSA Preps Gen Z for Suppression: 'Vote Anyway'

In a powerful new PSA aimed at motivating young voters, Levi Strauss & Co. takes a somber and realistic tone, warning Gen Z about the many obstacles that may make it hard for them to vote in the coming presidential election.

The black-and-white film encourages them to know their rights, register and show up at the polls on Nov. 3. It combines appearances from celebs like model Hailey Bieber, actor Danny Trejo and filmmaker Oge Egbuonu with scholars, musicians and activists. 

Its focus is on the 70 million young people that make up Gen Z -- many likely to be voting for the first time. The ad acknowledges that this is the biggest and most diverse generation ever. And it also calls out the ways 2020 has targeted people of color, from disproportionate rates of COVID-19 to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

“Know that voter suppression will be present. You will be discouraged,” narrators say. “Vote anyway.”

The video, directed by Egbuonu, steers viewers to its Instagram channel for more discussions. It closes with a plea to “Cast your promise. Cast your vote.”

Building on its #VoteAboutIt campaign, the brand says it will continue the #UseYourVoice LIVE series as a platform, drawing on members of the 23 voting rights organizations to whom it’s awarded grants.

“Levi’s has always been a driver of change, and it’s our responsibility to use our influence to promote voter education and voter engagement. Our democracy doesn’t work if we don’t participate,” says Jennifer Sey, chief marketing officer, in the brand's announcement. 

The U.S. trails many other democracies with its record for pitifully low turnout, according to Pew. About 56% of eligible voters showed up for the 2016 presidential election, according to the Presidential Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The last time more than 60% of voters cast a ballot was in 1968.

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