My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘Adweek’

Ad Scandal: Agency Forces Community Newspapers To Write Six Or More Articles About The 2010 Census

Friday, March 12th, 2010

H/t to Jim Edwards, the former managing editor of AdWeek, for making us aware of the following (full article HERE):

Ad agencies for the U.S. Census Bureau appear to have learned nothing from a decade-old White House scandal — because they’re busy repeating history.

Back in 2000, the White House was discovered trading ad buys with TV networks in return for positive spin in its war on drugs. That covert operation, which exposed millions to anti-drug propaganda masquerading as drama and sitcoms, ended in disgrace and the White House promised to cancel the program.

Ten years later, that promise is long forgotten. Globalhue, the ad agency that controls much of the government’s ad money targeting minorities for Census 2010, sent a letter to the National Newspaper Association demanding that publishers run six articles about the census or else the government would cancel its ads. (The NNPA represents community newspapers.)

While there was no explicit requirement of positive coverage demanded by Globalhue, the implication is clear: How long do you think the agency would continue placing ads in any newspaper that was digging dirt against the national headcount?

According to congressional hearings in February and March, the letter from Globalhue CEO Don Coleman said:

“In lieu of free ad space, all papers must agree to running six articles (preferably during hiatus weeks) about the Census 2010 as well as two editorials. If paper does not agree to the added value stipulations, buy will be canceled immediately.”

Amazingly, the arrangement proposed in the letter — that ad buys be contingent upon articles written by the papers themselves — is exactly the same as the one conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy during its disgraced ads-for-coverage scheme.

The Scope Of An Advertising/Marketing Flop…

Monday, February 8th, 2010

The Nielsen Ratings are crap. Seriously. These ratings are the results of an antiquated system that relies on statistics from 5,000 Americans to represent more than 300,000,000 Americans. However, YouTube has provided many, many, statistics for the common man (not just the stat-heads over at Census Bureau’s HQ in Suitland, Maryland). So, let us delve into the US Census Bureau’s YouTube channel to see just how few people have watched the ads that have been created for the 2010 Census:

Thus far, the Census Bureau has posted 63 YouTube videos for the 2010 Census. The first video (the boringly iconic “Portrait of America” clip) was posted 10 months ago and the most recent addition (a hip-hop music video geared toward young urbanites)  was posted two days ago. The Portrait of America video has just over 6,500 hits…which would sound pretty pathetic for a 10 month campaign if only it wasn’t revealed that the other six videos posted 10 months ago each received between 347 and 1,305 hits. In the series of videos posted 6 months ago, the most widely-watched video, about the address-canvassing operations, has been viewed a measly 1,083 times. (This means that only a tiny fraction of the workers involved in this process even watched the video…)

Sadly, Census Director Robert M. Groves has not become the YouTube phenom he wished to be, as his four-part panel discussion and swearing in ceremony clips received only 264, 124, 92, 120, and 285 views respectively (over the course of 6 months!!!). If Dr. Groves were trying to make it on network TV, he would have been canned lightyears before Conan…

And most pathetic are the efforts of the Census Bureau to reach out to minority communities…Video testimonials by members of minority communities that were posted 5 months ago have received between 33 and 258 views…and the majority of these videos have been viewed less than 100 times each! Even if the Census Bureau’s own employees who are representing the minority groups (partnership specialists) had viewed their own videos, there should be more views than what is represented on YouTube!

Final Analysis from an untrained marketing expert: As of February 8, 2010, this ad campaign is a colossal failure!

Congrats, The Census Bureau Wins This Year’s BS Awards!

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Today, the Census Bureau released the following press release about how it won an armload of the least prestigious awards ever received, which are called Tellys. Calls to multiple New York-based ad/marketing executives were met with words like “never heard of them” and “I don’t even think they’re real.” Jim Edwards, a former managing editor of AdWeek, said, “The Tellys are not a high-profile award by any means. They recognize one of the more humble niches of the advertising world, and that means that most people in the business have never heard of them.” Here’s the latest episode that relates to the Draftfcb PR farce from Suitland:

WASHINGTON, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A series of 2010 Census promotional videos have won several prestigious Telly Awards as well as a Videographer Award of Excellence — awards that honor the best in video production.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090226/CENSUSLOGO)

The videos were produced by the Public Information Office at the U.S. Census Bureau as part of a collaborative effort between headquarters, regional and contracting staff. They were submitted for consideration by contractors Therese Allen and Corey Petree.

The four- to seven-minute videos, titled “A New Portrait of America,” were produced to reach different segments of the population including the general, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders, and Puerto Rican audiences.

In the nonbroadcast productions category, the videos received silver Tellys for use of music and editing, and a bronze Telly was awarded for government relations. In the Internet/online video category, a silver Telly was awarded for music and a bronze Telly was awarded for editing.

The videos also received the 2009 Videographer Award of Excellence in the government/federal and creativity/video/original music categories.

The “New Portrait of America” videos include diverse images from throughout the country as well as interviews with community leaders. They are used at activities and events to promote the 2010 Census and encourage everyone’s participation in next year’s national count.

The “New Portrait of America” videos may be viewed at the following link: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/multimedia/videos/013879.html.

The real humor in this is that after looking into the “Telly Awards,” it  looks like there are hundreds upon hundreds thousands upon thousands of winners in each category. It seems like the creators of the Telly Awards just want an outlet for ad agencies to impress their clients by paying entry fees to become recipients of this everyone’s-a-winner competition.