The first in the series of eight commercials is scheduled to start airing today on Portland’s KATU, Channel 2, and KGW, Channel 8.
The 15- and 30-second commercials are being produced by the nonprofit Clark College Foundation, which raises funds to support the school’s students and programs.
The commercials are intended “to heighten awareness of Clark College in the community,” Morin said.
Clark College is staging a $20 million fundraising campaign called “Ensuring a Bright Future: Campaign for Clark College.”
The campaign’s title provides part of Elliott’s script. His message: “Support the campaign for Clark College, ensuring a bright future.”
In addition to a lengthy résumé of film and TV roles, Elliott has become a notable voice-over talent. The U.S. Forest Service launched a series of “Smokey Bear” public service announcements a few years ago, featuring Elliott’s distinctive drawl.
More recently, Elliott’s voice has been featured in Ram truck commercials filmed in Bingen and other Columbia Gorge locations. (Go to http://bit.ly/15GXgrX for our story.)
“We’ve always been interested in connecting with him,” said Morin, the foundation spokeswoman. “Things happened to fall in place.”
In a news release, Clark College Foundation President and CEO Lisa Gibert said that Elliott’s “powerful and familiar voice will help us raise awareness of what Clark College offers.”
Gibert continued: “With $2 million left to go in our fundraising effort, our hope is that Mr. Elliott’s connection to Clark will encourage others to offer their generosity — as he has — in support of student learning.”
Sam Elliott, whose voice is featured in Smokey Bear television spots, shares the bear's birth date. Elliott was born on Aug. 9, 1944. According to smokeybear.com: "Smokey Bear was born on August 9, 1944, when the U.S. Forest Service and the Ad Council agreed that a fictional bear named Smokey would be the symbol for their joint effort to promote forest fire prevention."