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With census forms set to arrive in more than 120 million mailboxes next month, the U.S. Census Bureau will continue building awareness about the importance and benefits of mailing back the 2010 Census form with a $5.1 million advertising package during the 2010 Winter Olympics, including one spot airing during tonight's Opening Ceremony.
“The Census Bureau's goal with this advertising package is to increase awareness that the Census is coming,” said Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves. “Taxpayers save $85 million for every one percentage point increase in the national mail back participation rate for the 2010 Census. Effective advertising is vital to making that happen.”
Over the 17 days of the Winter Olympics, the Census Bureau plans to air 132 spots on NBC, MSNBC, CNBC and USA. The package includes advertisements paid for by the Census Bureau and value added at no cost to the Census Bureau in the form of improved ad placements. Public service announcements by three Olympic athletes that will also run throughout the games — Ben Agosto (figure skater), Jennifer Rodriguez (speed skater) and Julie Chu (ice hockey).
More than 26 percent of adults living in the United States are expected to watch the Winter Olympics during the next two weeks. As one of the biggest events this year, at least 230 million U.S. residents are projected to view the census ads.
By contrast, a thirty second spot on the top-rated regularly-scheduled show in America, American Idol, costs $450,000 and is viewed by just about 9% or 10% of all households watching TV.
“The Winter Olympics are a time of great pride across the world,” Groves added. “Our Olympic advertising campaign is intended to raise awareness about the important role people can play in shaping the nation over the next ten years — simply by taking just ten minutes to complete the Census form's 10 questions when it arrives in their mailboxes in mid-March.”
The Olympic advertising package is the latest in the recently launched paid advertising campaign for the 2010 Census. In total, more than 400 ads in 28 languages have been created for the 2010 Census. Placements span TV, radio, print, out-of-home, digital, cinema, social media, events and sponsorships.
In addition to advertising, the Census Bureau has also implemented other initiatives including a national road tour traveling to communities to increase awareness that the census is coming, a partnership program that now has more than 185,000 members nationwide, and a Census in Schools program seeking to educate students about the nation's population and how it has changed since the first census in 1790.
The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data are used to apportion Congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year and to make decisions about what community services to provide. The 2010 Census form will be one of the shortest in U.S. history, consisting of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the respondents and the information they provide.