January 19, 2010
By Steve Campbell
The U.S. Census Bureau has launched an intensive 2 1/2-month advertising campaign as part of its $340 million outreach program to prod Americans into filling out questionnaires for the 2010 Census, said Raul Cisneros, chief of the 2010 Census publicity office in Washington.
The 10-question census forms will be mailed to 120 million households starting March 15, but that will be advanced by an introductory letter and followed up by reminder postcards and replacement questionnaires, Cisneros said.
The campaign will feature ads in 28 languages and include print, radio, television, online, and billboards, he said. "We want the entire country to be aware of the 2010 Census, the importance of being counted, the ease of filling out the questionnaire and the complete confidentiality of the process," Cisneros said.
The first TV ad will run tonight during the Golden Globes, and the general distribution will start Monday, Cisneros said. "We're going to be a top advertiser real soon," he said. . .
The ad blitz will put the 2010 Census in the ranks of the advertising world's heavy hitters, says Brice Campbell, a lecturer at the Temerlin Advertising Institute at Southern Methodist University.
"It's a big campaign in a short time period. It's going to be impossible to miss their message," he said.
By comparison, Campbell says, Chevrolet is expected to spend $600 million on advertising in 2010. Fast-food and phone companies remain the biggest advertisers in the country, he said.
"If you look at who you always see on TV, the fast-food and wireless companies, they spend about $2 billion a year each. They never stop; they are on every week," Campbell said.
The census campaign will focus on reaching hard-to-count populations like minorities, Campbell said. "They are going after ethnic subgroups to complete their questionnaires. And if you are in one of those groups, it's going to be hard to ignore," he said.
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