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2010 Census
Communications Campaign

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The 2010 Census will provide a once-in-a-decade portrait of the nation's population, as mandated by the U.S. Constitution. The information collected during the census is used to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and is used by public and private sectors to the public to make informed decisions. The data are also used to help distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds back to state, local and tribal governments each year and where to fund infrastructure projects such as roads, hospitals and schools.

The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in history consisting of 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete." In March 2010, households will receive the form that asks just a few questions, such as number of people in household, race/ethnicity and age. Here are some key operational milestones:

  • Announcement Letter: March 8th - March 10th
  • Initial mail out of form: March 15th - 17th
  • Replacement Questionnaire mailed: April 1st - April 10th
  • Reminder Postcard mailed: April 22nd - April 24th
  • In-home follow up to non-responders: May 1st - July 10th

In order to inform everyone about the 2010 Census and its importance, the U.S. Census Bureau has developed an integrated communications campaign (ICC) that includes paid media, earned media, national partnerships and Census in Schools programs and online interaction. The three goals of the ICC are:

  1. Increasing mail response
  2. Improving accuracy and reducing the differential undercount
  3. Improving cooperation with enumerators

Our prime contractor, DraftFCB and their partner agencies have developed a Paid Media Plan, described in this document, to spread the 2010 Census message as broadly as possible, especially during the mail-out/mail-back phase next March and April. The Plan also incorporates the work of eight partner media agencies, will encompass multiple languages and reach into every market across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Those agencies are:

  • African-American/Black African/Caribbean/Haitian - GlobalHue
  • Hispanic (Spanish Language National) - GlobalHue Latino
  • Hispanic (Spanish Language Local)- d. Exposito & Partners
  • Asian - IW Group
  • American Indian/Alaska Native - G&G Advertising
  • Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander- G&G Advertising
  • Emerging Audiences (Russian, Polish and Arabic) - Allied Media Group
  • Puerto Rico - DraftFCB Puerto Rico

Paid Media Plan Summary

The Paid Media Plan encompasses all media types and is skewed towards those segments of the populations that are considered hard to count (HTC) or those less likely to respond. The media habits and interests of these population groups drive when and where media will be purchased. Paid media materials were developed to ensure that everyone is reached with relevant communications.

Paid media will be purchased for:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Interactive
  • Outdoor & transit
  • Print (Newspaper and Magazines)

Local Market Coverage

National paid media will cover all the markets. However specific local markets will be identified for incremental support designed to reach the HTC populations as part of the request for proposal (RFP) process.


Paid Media Campaign Phases

The paid media campaign will occur in three phases:

  1. January-February 2010 (Awareness/Education)
    Goal: Build immediate awareness and provide educational information
  2. March-April 2010 (Motivation/Participation)
    Goal: Inspire and motivate everyone to complete the census questionnaire
  3. May-June 2010 (Support census workers when they knock on doors of those households who did not return the census questionnaire. Also known as "non-response follow up)
    Goal: encourage participation with the census workers

All target segments require awareness of Census benefits and prompting to participate, but specific communication strategies are needed to ensure highest participation levels.


Paid Media Buying Phases

  • 2010 Census Paid Media negotiations will occur in two phases:

    1. Census Upfront - Appropriate Contractors will negotiate multi-platform deals with large companies such as Time Warner, Disney ABC, etc. to negotiate the best pricing, placements and added value for the Campaign. These negotiations will begin in May because of the longer lead time needed to develop integrated programs and is in line with industry practice for national television negotiations.

    2. All Other Media Buying - Given the number of potential media vendors, Contractors will begin their outreach efforts to solicit information starting in June. Negotiations and commitments for all other media such as "scatter" national TV, local TV and radio, magazines, newspaper, Internet and outdoor will not be finalized until October - November.

The publicized deadline for formal consideration for this process ended on October 15, 2009. Media vendors are currently being notified of their selection status.



Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Acquisition Division

Created: 1/23/2006
Last Revised: October 19, 2012