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The Census Counts, Too
By: Jeff Louis
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Another decade has ended, so flee or be counted!

Yes, it's time once more to be numbered, and the U.S. Census (Department of Commerce) is "counting" on an advertising campaign to accurately determine the makeup of America. The first phase of the $340 million campaign kicked off this week, launching a road tour of vehicles crossing the United States to promote the Census Bureau's decennial tallying of the masses.

The tour, officially known as the "2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour," will be promoted with media not available during the 2000 census. Some of the social media elements that the government will use include Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter, and YouTube. 

The overall campaign will use social and traditional media, with paid media efforts focused on TV, radio, print, outdoor/transit, and online. The Department of Commerce reports that this will be its most elaborate and expensive advertising effort ever undertaken. Ads will be translated into 28 languages to encourage citizens who have immigrated to the United States to stand up and be counted.

It's so large, in fact, our government cannot do it alone. According to the Census Bureaus Web site, corporate partners include 3M, Best Buy, BET, Carbon Fund, CMT, Google, MTV, Sesame Street, Telemundo, and Valero.

At least eight ad agencies are involved, guided by the the Census Bureau's partner and agency, DraftFCB

The Census provides a 10-year portrait of the nation's population and is a mandate of our Constitution. The information is vital for determining the number of seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, aids in the planning of communities, and allows both public and private entities to facilitate decision making. More the $400 billion dollars of federal funding is distributed to local governments. This money is used to build roads, hospitals, and schools.

The 2010 Census questionnaire is 10 questions. The "milestones" are as follows:  

  • Announcement letter: March 8-10.
  • Initial mailing of form: March 15-17.
  • Replacement questionnaire mailed: April 1-10.
  • Reminder postcard mailed: April 22-24.
  • In-home follow-up to non-responders: May 1-July 10.

If you have any questions regarding the 2010 Census, the Department of Commerce, or its advertising campaign, visit Census.gov.

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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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