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The Ads Are Coming! The Ads Are Coming!

Tue Dec 22 2009
Robert Groves
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A group of us reviewed the television, radio and print advertisements for the 2010 Census that will start running in January. The ad campaign has three phases – an awareness phase (to alert the public that the 2010 Census is coming and the benefits of the count), followed by the motivation phase (to encourage everyone to fill out his or her form and mail it back), and lastly, the cooperation phase (to urge the public to cooperate with census workers should one of them come to their door to ask them the 2010 Census questions).

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I am naïve to the advertising world, as were most of the viewers. But the ad campaign was created by professionals, a collection of more than 10 different agencies. It was designed following in depth research and study of the public’s mindset about the 2010 Census. There was also extensive focus group testing of the advertising messages.

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It was quite an experience to see so many ads targeted to so many different audiences, one right after another. It reminded me again (as if I need it!) that no other advertising effort in the country attempts to promote a single product to the entire population. We can’t succeed by identifying those most likely to find census participation appealing; we have to make sure we inform everyone.

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So, we are advertising in 28 languages, reaching out to over two dozen audiences on TV, radio, in print and online. With many of these audiences, we’ll be the number one advertiser.

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I liked the ads, but they are only one part of our integrated communications campaign. We need our nearly 150,000 partner organizations to help raise awareness among their constituents. These grassroots efforts, plus our other activities, need to be coordinated with the paid advertising to really pay off.

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Get ready for the ads in the third week of January, but I ask you to spread the word yourself.

Director Robert Groves

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