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2020 Census Paid Media Campaign

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2020 Census and Paid Advertising

The 2020 Census is the largest collection of statistical information on everyone who lives in the United States and is required by the U.S. Constitution. Responses to the 2020 Census will shape how more than $675 billion in federal funding is distributed to local communities.

The U.S. Census Bureau goes to extraordinary lengths to make sure everyone is counted once, only once, and in the right place. Partners – nonprofit and for profit – play a critical role in the public education and outreach effort.  Using paid media will be a key component of the campaign. Paid advertising will support and integrate with other components of the campaign including Partnerships, Statistics in Schools, Social Media, and the 2020 Census Website.

The 2020 Census campaign will build on lessons learned from prior decades, respond to the rapidly changing media landscape, confront new challenges, and capitalize on new opportunities. For the first time, people will be able to respond online without having to wait for a mailing. Highly targeted digital advertising will present the opportunity to drive direct response, moving respondents from advertisements straight to the 2020 Census questionnaire.

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Team Y&R Partners

VMLY&R (formerly Y&R) secured the Integrated Communications Contract (ICC) for the 2020 Census campaign in August of 2016. As the contract’s primary agency of record VMLY&R created an integrated team for this project, Team Y&R, which includes PSB, Wavemaker, Carol H. Williams Advertising, Culture ONE World, G&G Advertising, The Kãlaimoku Group, TDW+Co, VMLY&R Puerto Rico, Wavemaker Puerto Rico, Reingold, BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), DCG, and Guidehouse.

For the media planning and buying process the Wavemaker lead team of partner agencies which includes Reingold, Carol H. Williams Advertising, Culture ONE World, TDW+Co, G&G Advertising, The Kãlaimoku Group, and Wavemaker Puerto Rico will be solely responsible for all the media planning and buying for the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign. The campaign will target audiences in English and 12 non-English languages (Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese).

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Team Y&R includes small businesses, five of which are minority-owned:

  • Wavemaker – Lead buying agency/National markets and channels
  • Reingold – Digital Direct/Content channels
  • Carol H. Williams Advertising – Black/African American/Sub Saharan African/Caribbean audiences
  • Culture ONE World – Hispanic/Spanish Language and Brazilian/Portuguese Language audiences
  • TDW+Co – Asian-American audiences
  • G&G Advertising – American Indian and Alaska Native audiences
  • The Kãlaimoku Group (TKG) – Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander audiences
  • Wavemaker Puerto Rico (Entity of Wavemaker) – Puerto Rico audiences

These media-buying partners will be responsible for all the buying and contracting directly with media vendors.

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Paid Media Campaign Phases

As in 2010, the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign will occur in three phases:

  1. Awareness/Education: January through March 2020
    The objective of this phase is to build immediate awareness and provide educational information. Team Y&R will use both traditional and non-traditional media channels to reach as many people as possible to increase awareness of the upcoming 2020 Census and prepare people to respond.
  2. Motivation/Participation: March through April 2020
    The objective of this phase is to inspire and motivate residents to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire. It will begin with the launch of the online response website and the first mailing of the paper questionnaires.
  3. Reminder/NRFU (Nonresponse Follow Up): May 2020 through TBD
    The objective of this phase will be to continue to remind people to respond to the 2020 Census, as well as support census workers as they go door-to-door to count households that have not yet responded.

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Paid Media Buying Phases

The 2020 Census Paid Media negotiations will occur in two phases:

  1. 2020 Upfront (beginning April 2019) – Team Y&R will negotiate multi-platform deals with large broadcast companies to receive the best pricing, placements, and added value for the campaign. These negotiations will begin earlier due to the longer lead-time needed to develop integrated programs, and to remain in line with industry practice for national television negotiations.
  2. All Other Media Buying (beginning April 2019) – Given the number of potential media vendors, Team Y&R will begin their outreach efforts to solicit information starting April 3, 2019, Media Vendor Day New York (U.S. Mainland and April 5, 2019, Media Vendor Day Puerto Rico). Negotiations and commitments for all other media such as national TV (not included in the upfronts), local TV and radio, magazines, newspaper, Internet, and outdoor will not be finalized until late 2019/early 2020.

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Media Vendor Request for Proposal and Process

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A core component of the 2020 Census ICC is a robust paid media and advertising campaign. As part of this effort, media vendors will have the opportunity to submit proposals for consideration for the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign. Team Y&R will provide six RFPs (television, radio, Out of Home, print magazine, print newspaper, and digital direct/content) for the 2020 Census Media Vendor Day.

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The 2020 Census Media Vendor Day will be held on April 3, 2019 in New York and April 5, 2019 in Puerto Rico, presenting the opportunity to educate potential vendors about the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign and answer questions about the RFP process. Media Vendor Day will be held in-person and live streamed for media vendors; the event will be recorded and accessible for those unable to attend in person or view the live stream in real-time for the April 3, 2019 Media Vendor Day. Recorded presentations will be available on April 10, 2019.

  • Vendors will have from April 3, 2019 through May 29, 2019 to respond.

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  • Team Y&R would like to provide an update to all vendors on the 2020 Census RFP deadline. The deadline for RFP submissions was supposed to be May 24th, 2019, however, due to technical issues with the RFP portal, the new deadline for submissions is now May 29th, 2019.
  • We understand that there was an issue with submitting proposals with large PDF attachments, and we have now increased the file size limit on PDF attachments to 50MB. If you do have technical problems between now and May 29th, 2019, please provide the following details as soon as possible to

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  1. The Proposal Reference Code (6 character ID such as ABCDEF)
  2. The specific issue you are having (e.g. – logging in, slow response, uploading files, etc)
  3. As many details as possible (e.g. – type of file, size of file, etc)
  4. The error message you received
  5. A screenshot of what is happening
  6. Your email address that is associated with the proposal you are attempting to submit

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  • Q&A - Vendors will have from April 3, 2019 through April 12, 2019 to submit questions regarding the RFP process.
  • Questions from Q&A response period will be posted on April 26, 2019 at
  • No late submissions will be accepted.
  • Local Market Coverage – National efforts are designed to cover all the markets. However, specific markets will be identified to reach the low response populations.

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Team Y&R will work to ensure that all media vendors, including small and minority owned businesses, have notice of our upcoming buy and an opportunity to submit proposals for consideration in the paid media campaign.

The paid media campaign encompasses various media across traditional and digital media channels. The types of paid media that could be purchased for the 2020 Census campaign may include but are not limited to:

Media Type Examples
TV (traditional, online, streaming)
Digital Direct/Content (display, video, influencers, gaming)
Radio (traditional, online, streaming)
Print Magazine
Print Newspaper
OOH (transportation, billboards, grocery stores)

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Please see the contact information below for agencies managing the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign. All media vendors should contact Team Y&R for all media buying inquiries, the U.S. Census Bureau will not be directly contracting with any media vendors for the paid media campaign:

Team Y&R Contact List Point of Contact Email Audience/Market
Wavemaker Julie Lee, Managing Director National
Reingold John Otmany, Director of Digital Marketing Digital
Wavemaker PR Lourdes Ocasio, Managing Partner Puerto Rico
Carol H. Williams Advertising David Scott Jr., VP, Group Planning Director Black/African American Audiences
Culture ONE World Raul Aliaga, Media Director Hispanic/Brazilian Audiences
TDW+Co Eileen Tran, Media Director Asian American Audiences
The Kãlaimoku Group John Aeto, President Hawaii/Pacific Islander Audiences
G&G Advertising Gerald Gray, Vice President Alaskan Native/American Indian Audiences
All Press Inquiries Ann Davison, Director Press/External Stakeholders

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For more information regarding 2020 Census Media Vendor Day or the RFP process email or visit

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