2011 Bronze Effie Winner “Mobilizing an Entire Nation”

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In 2000, for the first time, the Government utilized paid media to ... Largest new generation ever of people who had never participated in a U.S. census survey. .... Web site. Viral video. Video skins/bugs. Social Networking Sites. Podcasts.

2011 Bronze Effie Winner

“Mobilizing an Entire Nation” Category: Government/Institutional/Recruitment Brand/Client: United States Census Bureau Primary Agency: Draftfcb

Strategic Challenge A DECADE OF SILENCE, CHANGE AND CHALLENGE The U.S. Census only happens once every decade. This massive undertaking is used to determine the number and demographic composition of people residing in the United States and its territories. The census is mandated by the Constitution, and by law everyone must participate. However, legality doesn’t equate with likelihood. Participation rates in Government surveys have been declining for decades. In 2000, for the first time, the Government utilized paid media to encourage participation in the census. On the surface, our assignment for the 2010 Census seemed rather simple—get people to complete and return the short, ten-question census survey. But we didn’t have to convince just ―people‖; we had to convince ―ALL the people.‖ Our challenge was unlike that of any commercial advertiser. We had to mobilize a diverse and sprawling nation of hundreds of millions to perform the same single action over a four-week period. That meant rallying the entire nation—citizens and noncitizens, English speakers and speakers of 59 other languages, both the willing and the apprehensive—to voluntarily take the time in a pervasively digital world to complete the census form by hand and then drop it in a mailbox. Aside from the sheer size of this operation, a multitude of additional cultural factors stood in our way. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, many events shaped and defined the challenges for delivering high census participation rates. These included:  Declining participation rates in traditional public and private sector surveys due to increasing demands on consumers’ time, heightened privacy concerns and significantly more ―clutter‖. (Source: Nonresponse Rates and Nonresponse Bias in Household Surveys, Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 5.)

Effie® Awards 116 E. 27 St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Tel: 212-687-3280 Fax: 212-557-9242 th

2011: The information available through effie.org is the property of the Effie Awards and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. This brief may be displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal use only. By using this site, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, sell, publicly display, publish or broadcast the information to anyone without the prior written consent of the Effie Awards.



All-time-high mistrust in government just prior to the 2010 Census. (Source: Pew Research Center, March 2010.)



Heightened privacy and immigration concerns fostered by the post-9/11 Patriot Act. (Source: Ponemon Institute.)



Increasingly diverse population, with greater numbers of non-English-speaking people, and noncitizens who desire to stay below the radar. (Source: USA Today Analysis of Census Data.)



Largest new generation ever of people who had never participated in a U.S. census survey. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau.)



Sharp rise in hard-to-locate populations due to an unprecedented number of foreclosures and displacements from the faltering economy and the prolonged aftermath of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf. (Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security.)



Greater fragmentation of the media landscape, making it harder than ever to reach everyone by choosing the right channels when there are so many available.

With no momentum on which to build, and with no paid communications in-market for the past ten years, since the census is only conducted on a decennial basis, these threats made success even more difficult and uncertain. THE REAL PRICE OF NONPARTICIPATION The failure of people to participate in the census would have had serious financial and sociological repercussions. For the Government, it would mean spending billions of taxpayer dollars to hire and deploy census workers to go door-to-door to track down and count people who do not respond by mail. For the people, it would mean inaccurate distribution benefits. Without FULL AND COMPLETE participation, the census cannot accurately represent the human composition of the nation for fair distribution of funding to communities to improve schools, hospitals, roads and more. And, less obviously, low participation rates would signal an apathetic and dispassionate society. A successful census would not only help the Government accumulate vital information and save billions, but it would be a source of civic pride—a truly collective accomplishment that transcended race, gender and income.

Objectives Long before the contract was awarded to develop and implement the communications campaign for the 2010 census, the Census Bureau with the approval of Congress established the following goals for the campaign: 

Reach literally everyone living in the U.S. and its territories, citizen or not, to encourage universal participation.



Deliver 67% mail participation, a similar goal to that in 2000, despite the many new and substantial challenges and threats.



Have the campaign pay for itself, which in the end totaled $357 million for 2010. Effie® Awards 116 E. 27 St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Tel: 212-687-3280 Fax: 212-557-9242 th

2011: The information available through effie.org is the property of the Effie Awards and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. This brief may be displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal use only. By using this site, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, sell, publicly display, publish or broadcast the information to anyone without the prior written consent of the Effie Awards.

With these aggressive goals and only a four-week window to deliver, it was critical to identify the early indicators of participation and monitor them continuously throughout the campaign to determine if efforts were on track. Waiting on actual participation rates would make us too late in the process to course-correct if necessary. We conducted a customized census segmentation study of the entire U.S. during the strategy and message development phase. This attitude- and perception-based research gave us the ability to statistically derive the early indicators of participation. We then implemented ongoing national tracking surveys to track these lead time attitudes and perceptions along with awareness to reveal where, among whom and why the campaign was underperforming, to take advantage of opportunities to make real-time adjustments to messaging and media. This ability to predict and then course-correct using these early indicators was critical to the success of the campaign. This allowed us to re-strategize and adjust along the way to optimize participation. Of course, the Census Bureau also tracked actual mail-back rates right down to the census tract level. This data was reviewed daily and provided the real proof that we were on track to meet our goals.

The Big Idea SHIFT THE CENSUS FROM GOVERNMENT MANDATE TO PERSONAL MISSION. FROM “U.S. GOVERNMENT” TO “US” In order to mobilize an entire nation, we’d have to get people to mobilize other people. Our research showed that not only did people distrust the Government; they felt better suited to make decisions for themselves. So how could we get people to support an initiative from the very body for which they had developed so much mistrust? We realized we would have to reframe the census from a Government initiative to a civic call-to-action. We would have to show people just how important they were to the process. The census couldn’t simply be seen as an obligation, but needed to become a movement in possibility, community and individual agency. Our communications, then, would not be alarmist or panic inducing. We would have to bring inspiration and spirit to an otherwise mundane practice. We could enable, not encroach. It would no longer be the U.S. Census, but OUR CENSUS. This simple, but powerful, change in subject would be the catalyst for transforming a Government initiative into a people’s movement. “It‟s OUR Census and It‟s In OUR Hands.” However, as lovely as that sounds, transferring the mantle of the census from the Government to the people would present its own challenges. We couldn’t just transfer power—we also had to guide and direct it along the way. Our communications, therefore, had to build. Awareness and empowerment alone would not be enough. They had to result in action.

Effie® Awards 116 E. 27 St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Tel: 212-687-3280 Fax: 212-557-9242 th

2011: The information available through effie.org is the property of the Effie Awards and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. This brief may be displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal use only. By using this site, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, sell, publicly display, publish or broadcast the information to anyone without the prior written consent of the Effie Awards.

Bringing the Idea to Life To deliver the “It‟s Our Census and It‟s In Our Hands” strategy, we created perhaps the largest social outreach effort ever. Every state. Every community. Every school system…simply put, “a one-of-a-kind „everywhere network.‟” We made the message come from the people, and elevated ―below-the-line marketing‖ to be our primary communications channel to incite conversations. Our mass-participation social outreach effort included: 

Communications in 59 languages, to speak to everyone in the right voice and right cultural context.



A massive partnership network of 240,000 organizations—companies like Target, civic clubs, religious groups and government organizations—armed with social sharing tools and census educational resources.



Millions of census-branded ―It’s In Our Hands‖ promotional items, to create a memorable and persuasive experience.



An unprecedented ―Portrait of America‖ road tour comprised of 13 state-of-the-art touring vehicles that engaged millions of individuals, and millions more who were engaged through PR coverage and online blogging extensions.



A custom-created Census In Schools curriculum that reached 92,000 schools and students of all grades.



Enlistment of hundreds of ―trusted voices‖ spokespeople for PSAs and speaking events, including celebrities, DJs, community leaders and respected sports figures.



A website built for everyone, featuring ongoing blogs from U.S. Census Bureau Director Groves and real-time Google mapping data on daily response rates of every community.

Yes, our plan also included TV, Digital, Magazines, Outdoor, Radio and Newspapers. But we made sure all communications felt like a voice from the people, not the Government. Over 2,000 culturally relevant media outlets were employed to communicate census benefits in the right language. We made the media outlets themselves become a trusted voice through hundreds of content integration programs featuring trusted voices to their audiences, including George Lopez, Tyler Perry, Olympic athletes, NASCAR endorsements, BET Awards integrations…and even a family participation PSA featuring Dora The Explorer.

Effie® Awards 116 E. 27 St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Tel: 212-687-3280 Fax: 212-557-9242 th

2011: The information available through effie.org is the property of the Effie Awards and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. This brief may be displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal use only. By using this site, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, sell, publicly display, publish or broadcast the information to anyone without the prior written consent of the Effie Awards.

Communications Touch Points TV

Packaging

Retail Experience

Spots

Product Design

POP

Branded Content

Cinema

Video

Sponsorship

Interactive

In-Store Merchandizing

Product placement

Online Ads

Radio

Web site

Sales Promotion Retailtainment

Spots

Viral video

Merchandising

Video skins/bugs

Street Teams

Program/content

Social Networking Sites

Tagging

Podcasts

Wraps

Trade/Professional

Gaming

Buzz Marketing

Newspaper - print

Mobile Phone

Ambient Media

Newspaper - digital

Other

Print

Magazine - print

OOH

Guerrilla

Sampling/Trial Consumer Involvement

Magazine – digital

Airport

WOM

Print partnership

Transit

Consumer Generated

Direct

Billboard

Mail

Place Based

Email

Viral Other In-school

Other

PR

Trade Shows

Events

Sponsorship

Additional Marketing Components:  

Census questionnaire Government announcement mailings preceding questionnaire distribution

Reach: Local, Regional, National, Non-English

Total Media Expenditure: $40 Million and Over

Results The campaign reached everyone, with overall public awareness of the census peaking at 93– 100%. (Source: 93% based on the Gallup’s Public Opinion Polling Study; 100% based on the Census Attitudinal Tracking Study.) Mail participation significantly exceeded the goal by 7 percentage points, reaching 74% despite the daunting and unprecedented challenges faced. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau.) The Census Bureau returned $1.9 billion to the Government, with the campaign paying for itself more than five times over. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau.)

Effie® Awards 116 E. 27 St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Tel: 212-687-3280 Fax: 212-557-9242 th

2011: The information available through effie.org is the property of the Effie Awards and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. This brief may be displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal use only. By using this site, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, sell, publicly display, publish or broadcast the information to anyone without the prior written consent of the Effie Awards.

Anything else going on that might have helped drive results? Prior to mailing the census form, the Government sent announcement mailings to residents alerting them to watch for the form and directing them to the appropriate course of action should they not receive it. This was also done in 2000.

Effie® Awards 116 E. 27 St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Tel: 212-687-3280 Fax: 212-557-9242 th

2011: The information available through effie.org is the property of the Effie Awards and is protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. This brief may be displayed, reformatted and printed for your personal use only. By using this site, you agree not to reproduce, retransmit, distribute, sell, publicly display, publish or broadcast the information to anyone without the prior written consent of the Effie Awards.

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