2010 Census Advertising Campaign: How to Target Everyone?

Recently the U.S. Census Bureau was recognized by Mediaweek, an advertising industry trade publication, for its 2010 Census advertising campaign — winning both the “Best Multicultural Campaign” and “Best Branded Content” awards in the publication's Media Plan of the Year competition.

“When you think about how diverse this country is and the many different cultures and languages found here, targeting literally everyone living in America is no easy task,” said Bhavana Smith, vice president, group media director at Draftfcb New York. The Census Advertising campaign is certainly the only campaign targeting everyone in the U.S.. Imagine trying to say something, (even “hello”) to every person in the country, and then try to get a response from all of them. This is clearly a huge challenge.

GlobalHue Latino and Draftfcb Puerto Rico were the agencies in charge of the Hispanic effort and “Hazte contar” the leading slogan of the campaign. The targeted market was not the only obstacle to elude: immigration is a key issue among Hispanics and providing information to the government was, at the beginning of the campaign, an issue to be considered. Is not a coincidence that Arizonans were among those who were slower to return their forms than the national average. The 2010 Census National Participation Rate was 72% while Arizonan Participation reached 67%.

Success with Recent Immigrants

Recent Hispanic immigrants were more likely to return their census questionnaires than Hispanics born in the United States, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study that suggests that the part of the census campaign targeting Spanish speakers has been wildly successful.

The primary purpose of the advertising efforts was to educate and motivate households to mail back their 2010 Census forms when they arrived in March — more than 72 percent of America participated by mail, matching the rate from the last census in 2000.

The integrated 2010 Census outreach and promotional efforts brought together advertising, public relations and event support, Census in Schools, and social media on a national and local basis covering every market. The effort is the result of a partnership between the Census Bureau and Draftfcb New York, which served as the lead agency of Team Census 2010, a collaboration of 14 partner companies: GlobalHue, GlobalHue Latino, D'Exposito & Partners, Allied, G&G, IW Group, Plum, Weber Shandwick, Jack Morton, Scholastic, Allied, Initiative, and Draftfcb Puerto Rico.

The advertising portion of the campaign resulted in more than 400 ads seen across all media — television, radio, print, out-of-home, digital, cinema, social media, events and sponsorships. Extensive research and input from internal and external stakeholders were integral in the development of the various campaign elements.

Related Articles:

Hispanic Marketing: Gaining Consensus to Prepare for the Census (By Liliana Gil)

U.S. Census: Print Media

Telemundo Launches 2010 Census Campaign, 'Hazte Contar!'

D’Exposito Scores Hispanic Component of 2010 Census Contract