For Immediate Release:
October 1, 1999
BOARD GIVES BIPARTISAN ENDORSEMENT TO CENSUS BUREAUāS UPCOMING AD CAMPAIGN
In a report to Congress issued today, the U.S. Census Monitoring Board "unanimously"
endorses the Census Bureauās $167 million national advertising campaign set
to begin in November.
to the seven Presidentially and Congressionally-appointed Members of the Monitoring
Board, the Bureauās ad campaign, developed by Young & Rubicam (Y&R), a major
commercial advertising agency in New York, is "well researched, well designed
and is likely to achieve its objectives."
clear that Y&R has put together a very diverse and talented creative team,
and we are confident that the Bureau is getting full value for its advertising
dollars," the Board Members said, adding that they "enthusiastically endorse
the Bureauās advertising program."
Boardās report describes in detail how the Bureauās ad campaign was researched,
developed, produced and budgeted. This is the first time the Census Bureau
has ever launched a paid advertising campaign to promote the decennial population
count. Prior censuses have relied on donated public service ads that typically
ran in off-peak hours.
2000, the Bureau decided to incorporate a major, primetime ad campaign in
order to address the decline of mail response rates that plagued recent censuses.
The theme of the campaign is "This Is Your Future, Donāt Leave It Blank,"
which was developed by the Bureau and Y&R after conducting more than 1,700
focus group interviews and other research. Many of the ads focus on the benefits
that communities receive from the Federal government if their census counts
phase of the campaign runs from November 1999 until January 2000 and is designed
to raise public awareness of Census 2000. The second phase runs through April
2000 and is designed to motivate people to fill out and mail back their census
forms after Census Day, which is April 1. The third and final phase runs through
July 2000 and is geared toward creating a positive environment for census
enumerators who must knock on the doors of those homes that do not mail back
component of the campaign is called "Diverse America," which is designed to
reach 99 percent of the English speaking population in the United States.
Ads were also developed in 17 other languages designed to reach non-English
speaking households. Finally, the campaign includes targeted ads for the African
American, Hispanic, Asian American and American Indian communities.
media buy includes network and local television (broadcast and cable), radio,
print and outdoor venues. Indeed, starting in November, anyone who watches
TV, listens to radio, reads newspapers or looks at billboards will be hard-pressed
to miss the Census Bureauās ads. For several months, the Bureau will be one
of the top advertisers in the entire country. The report notes, however, that
paid ads will not eliminate the differential undercount of minorities and
children, and indeed that the Y&R campaign is not designed to do so. Rather,
it is focused on producing a successful mailback response rate. As Dr. Kenneth
Prewitt, Director of the Bureau, testified before the Monitoring Board, "If
we can reverse the decline of the response rate [via paid advertising], and
indeed increase the mailback response rate, we will then have released the
resources of the Census Bureau to go after the differential undercount."
advertising firms working with Y&R on the census campaign are the Bravo Group,
Kang and Lee, G&G and Chisholm-Mingo.
Monitoring Board report was signed by Congressional Co-chair J. Kenneth Blackwell,
Presidential Co-Chair Gilbert F. Casellas, Congressional Members David W.
Murray, A. Mark Neuman and Joe D. Whitley, and Presidential Members Everett
M. Ehrlich and Lorraine A. Green. (One Presidential slot is vacant.) The Census
Monitoring Board was established by Congress and the Administration in 1997
to monitor all aspects of Census 2000 and to report to Congress at least once
every six months.
Estela Mendoza, John R. Chambers, Presidential Members, 301-457-9900
Clark Reid, Congressional Members, 301-457-5080