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 ‘Draftfcb’

MyTwoCensus Investigation Leads to Congressional Letter Requesting Contract Information

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

MyTwoCensus has spent a significant amount of time in the past week investigating the relationship between Draftfcb, GlobalHue, and the U.S. Census Bureau. We obtained the following document from a Census Bureau insider that shows how this site’s reports have led to congress investigating this $200 million contract:

LetterToGrovesDraftfcb (page 1 of 2)

LetterToGrovesDraftfcb (page 2 of 2)

Response from the Census Bureau re: “BS Awards”

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Jack Martin of the Public Information Office sent me the following e-mail in my response to my “BS Awards” post:

There are several inacuracies in Mr. Morse’s post that we feel the need to rectify.

First, our communications plan contractor, draftFCB, had nothing to do with the creation of this video, or entry in the Telly Awards program.  This video was produced internally by our Photo and Broadcast Services Division, a group of talented professionals who have also won many awards, including excellence awards from the Public Relations Society of America, the National Association of Government Communicators, a NY ADDY, an ARF David Ogilvy Award, and two CINE Golden Eagles.

Second, The Telly Awards have for the last 30 years recognized the creative efforts of thousands of people, and are very popular with thousands of organizations  Their website cites “over 14,000 entries from all 50 states and 5 continents” for this year.  Winning entries included commercials made for Wal-Mart and Chrysler, and other video projects for Discovery Channel, Disney, Verizon, ESPN, and AARP. The Telly Awards are popular with many who are “on the ground” creating the excellent work you see on commercial and public TV.  The entries are judged by peers, and usually not by major agency advertising executives.  A category may have several winners, or none.  The excellence of the production is awarded.

We are proud of our communications program and the recognition our contractors are receiving for their work on the 2010 Census

Jack Martin | U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office |

Our response: As has been previously noted, conversations with advertising professionals about the Telly Awards reveal their lack of prestige. The logic behind entering awards competitions that are not prestigious is very simple: Advertising companies, individuals, and in this case the Census Bureau want to call their products “award-winning” as this helps with future/current business, or in this case government oversight. This is easy to achieve when entering competitions that have many, many, many winners. And finally, no mention was made of Draftfcb in this post, other than identifying that the company was also involved in advertising efforts.

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.

Jost: Cisneros Is My Chief Publicity (Read: Oversight) Flack

Friday, July 17th, 2009

MyTwoCensus obtained the following internal Census Bureau document…Look who will be responsible for the oversight of the $200 million contract with DraftFCB, a fellow PR flack rather than an ACCOUNTANT or someone with OVERSIGHT EXPERIENCE:

FROM THE DESK OF STEVE JOST
Associate Director for Communications

I am pleased to announce the selection of Raul E. Cisneros as Chief of the
Census 2010 Publicity Office, effective July 19,2009.  In this role he will
be responsible for the management of the 2010 Integrated Communications
Campaign and the oversight of the multimillion dollar contract with
Draftfcb.
Prior to this position Raul served as Chief of the 2010 Census
Media Relations Branch in the Public Information Office where he was in
charge of public affairs and media relations activities for the 2010
Census.

Raul has extensive and wide ranging public relations experience and has
worked with public and private sector stakeholders nationally and the state
and local levels.  Before coming to the Census Bureau, Raul served in a
number of capacities at the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2001 to
2008.  He was director of communications and responsible for press,
marketing, audiovisual services, Web design and internal communications.
He was also associate administrator for field operations, deputy chief of
staff and acting district director for Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition to his federal service, Raul has also worked for the state of
California as an environmental engineer, assistant state treasurer and
communications specialist for the California State Senate.  Raul has been a
public relations consultant and commentator for print, radio and
television.  He also has private sector experience as an engineer and
supervisor working for the Campbell Soup Company.

Born and raised in the Republic of Panama, Raul earned his Bachelor of
Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.  He lives in
Laurel, Md., with his wife, Anita, and 15-year-old daughter.  He is active
in the community and serves as a board member for the Anne Arundel
Partnership for Children, Youth and Families.

New Information: The DraftFCB $200 Million Scandal

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Editor’s Note: There have never been criminal charges brought against Boschetto, and MyTwoCensus does not claim to have any knowledge about his guilt or innocence. The suit linked to below makes allegations but does not provide supporting evidence to support its claims.

Editor’s Update: Today, Jim Edwards of BNet writes of the Boschetto case:

A federal judge dismissed the case in February 2007, fined the lawyer who filed it $8,000, and ordered him not to bring it again. (He appealed.) The judge also noted that Boschetto was never served in the case — even though he’s a named defendant — and that the complaint was littered with errors, including the plagiarism of several passages from other suits that were also dismissed. The judge wrote, “This intent to humiliate and embarrass is further manifested in the amended complaint which is littered with wholly irrelevant, inflammatory, and embarrassing facts concerning defendants and non-defendants alike that have no bearing on the actions brought…”

The mid 2000s were tumultuous times for DraftFCB.   Wal-Mart pulled out of their $580-million deal with the firm when, in December 2006, Wal-Mart fired two marketing executives who had helped procure the DraftFCB  contract, alleging that the executives had accepted gifts from the agencies under consideration when making their decision to hire DraftFCB.

These problems were further compounded when, in February 2006, DraftFCB’s CEO Laurence Boschetto, was accused of sexual abuse (read the court documents by clicking here) in bizarre incidents related to the Catholic Church abuse scandals. According to the attorney who filed this lawsuit (whom MyTwoCensus spoke with today), this case is still pending in the New York State Supreme Court and Boschetto has never refuted the charges by saying he didn’t commit the crimes (Purportedly, he has only stated that the statute of limitations in this case has expired).

None of these factors prevented the US Census Bureau from thinking that this was the ideal company to carry out its ad/media campaigns for the 2010 Census. DraftFCB was publicly announced as the winning firm in August 2007. Ostensibly the bidding/selection process for this $200 million contract took place while the firm was in the news for its less than positive dealings, which makes one wonder why they were selected over companies that weren’t plagued by scandals. As the Wal-Mart example shows, DraftFCB has no problem providing kickbacks for people to gain contracts.

MyTwoCensus is seriously concerned about the nature of how this contract was awarded and we are seeking information about the bidding process, proposals of other firms, and the high likelihood that Washington power-brokers had an unethical (if not illegal) influence on this bidding process. Unfortunately, we are unable to place an FOIA request to determine the nature of other companies’ proposals and bids due to legal restrictions, but we urge our readers who work for the IG, GAO, or Congress to gather this data.

UPDATE: MyTwoCensus Investigation: Scammers Running The 2010 Census Ad Campaign

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

UPDATE: MyTwoCensus has been informed that Jay Waite, deputy director of the US Census Bureau, was also involved in procuring these contracts. According to his biography, “Waite is the visionary and architect of the 2010 reengineered census. Using hand-held computers for data collection, a major expansion of technology, will dramatically change the way censuses will be conducted for decades to come.”

Well, what scandal have we stumbled upon this time?

Upon doing some further research into DraftFCB’s massive $200 million advertising/media contract with the Census Bureau, I learned that this firm’s parent company, Interpublic Group was forced to pay a $12 million fine to the SEC for accounting fraud in 2008 and also owns a 49% stake in GlobalHue, an ethnic media PR firm that has been assigned to do the Latino/African-American outreach for the 2010 Census. But back in March of this year, GlobalHue was accused of overbilling the Bermudan government by $1.8 million on a $13 million contract. The Bermudans claim that GlobalHue:

    • Overbilled the account by $1.8 million.
    • Prebilled the government in violation of its own rules.
    • Didn’t keep invoices and billing records.
    • Didn’t return discounts and credits to the client.
    • Used a media buyer, Cornerstone, that charged commissions of  up to 181 percent.

    Have similar problems been going on in America with little oversight? Maybe the GAO and IG’s offices will soon let us know! (For now, click here to download the original accusations from Bermuda. H/t to Jim Edwards of BNET for providing these docs.)

    An confidential source informed MyTwoCensus that New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney’s office had quite the hand in procuring this contract for DraftFCB/Interpublic Group/GlobalHue (ironically she accused the Bush administration of trying to sabotage the 2010 Census), so tomorrow we’re going to give them a call to learn more information. Additionally, Steven J. Jost, the Census Bureau’s new Communications Director (he also served in this role when Ken Prewitt ran the Census Bureau during the later Clinton years), has significant ties to Maloney’s office.

    MyTwoCensus has a pending FOIA request to obtain the details of these contracts.

    *As this is an ongoing investigation, MyTwoCensus asks for any individual with further information about this case to please come forward. We remind our readers that we maintain  full confidentiality with our sources in all circumstances.

A Failed Campaign: 2010 Census Ad Dollars Are Inadequate For Minorities

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

On April 29, the left-wing 2010 Census advocacy group The Census Project published a piece by Terri Ann Lowenthal (who served on President Obama’s transition team) that discussed the ethnic media’s perception that 2010 Census advertising efforts had gone seriously awry. Lownthal writes, “A panel of stakeholders advising the Census Bureau on the 2010 census paid advertising campaign issued a vote of “no confidence” in Draftfcb, the prime contractor responsible for the Communications program, which includes advertising and outreach to promote participation in the census.  The Joint Advertising Advisory Review Panel (JAARP), comprised of representatives of the Census Bureau’s official advisory committees, met last week to review proposed ads Draftfcb developed for the national census promotion campaign. The Census Bureau’s five Race and Ethnic Advisory Committees (REACs), representing communities of color that are at higher risk of undercounting in the census and other Census Bureau surveys, concurred with JAARP’s ‘no confidence’ statement with respect to Draftfcb’s creative materials for the 2010 census general campaign, at their biannual meetings held later in the week.”

Then, today, I came across an article from Frost Illustrated, an African-American publication, that described how the black community feels  they have been failed by the 2010 Census advertising efforts:

Census ad dollars ‘not enough’ black publishers say

By Pharoh Martin
NNPA National Correspondent

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (NNPA)—Rick Wade, deputy chief of staff and senior advisor to the U. S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, was met with a bit of displeasure from black publishers June 26 as they expressed that the government’s Census advertising plan for black newspapers was insufficient.

Wade announced to members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association that out of an estimated budget of more than $24 million dollars for black media advertising only $1.6 million will be spent with black newspapers.

The funds are to be used to assure an accurate count in difficult to count communities, such as among African Americans and Latinos.

“That’s not enough,” one publisher said quickly in response to Wade’s announcement. Another publisher did the math and equated that the estimated numbers will do nothing if split among hundreds of newspapers nationally. At the most it will only buy one ad, she said.

As others chimed in during a question and answer period, Wade assured the audience representing more than 200 black-owned newspapers that the proposed budget is not yet final.

“These are just estimates,” he said. “We believe we have sufficient funds to ensure an accurate count.”

Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago and Gary Crusader Newspapers, and chair of the NNPA Foundation, then addressed another concern.

“Ten years ago, we ran your ads and didn’t get paid,” she said. “We are a significant part and we want to be counted.”

Wade assured, “These are paid advertisements so you will be paid.”

The intense, but courteous discussion underscored a long-standing contention by black newspaper publishers that they are often undercut by advertisers—including the federal government.

Wade told the group that he understands that black newspapers are not only press but they are also businesses and that it is in the interest of the Department of Commerce to advance businesses.

According to the temporary budget, the $24.7 million being allocated for black population media advertising during the census count will be split three ways. Black population media includes Black- American, Carribean-American and Black-African media outlets, according to Wade. The budget is comparable to the Latino media allocation of $27 million dollars.

The advertising campaign will begin in the fall and will end August 2010. The Census Bureau will adjust and reallocate unused money until it runs out.

The Department of Commerce will be pushing their message about participating in the 2010 census through a large advertising campaign in order to reach the “hardto- count” populations.

Wade spent most of his speech before America’s premier black publishers organization explaining the specifics of the 2010 Census and promoting the importance of $5 billion slated to broadband employment for the black community. But the information surrounding the Census’ advertising campaign is what caught the ears of the dozens of black newspaper publishers in attendance.

Following the breakfast the Census Bureau hosted a seminar called Advertising and Ethnic Media, in which, the Bureau gave more specifics about the process of securing an advertisement buy during the 2010 Census advertising campaign.

Contract management chief Kendall Johnson said as long as the media entity is solvent and has been in business at least a year it would qualify for ad money.

“We’re not looking for metrics. We’re just looking that you can reach the people you say you can reach,” she said.

The advertisements will be placed through multi-cultural advertising firm Globalhue and a pairing of smaller advertising firms. The smaller firms are being used because law states that 40 percent of the $326 million dollar contract’s budget must be spent on small businesses.

And even though 51 percent ad budget will be allocated to ethnicowned media some publishers fear that the money will not make its way down to community papers because many black newspapers have not had positive business experiences with Globalhue.

“We’re not being represented by that agency,” said a publisher who spoke but did not identify himself. “We have our own ad agencies that haven’t excluded us and put us behind the eight-ball. So it’s not [that] we don’t trust [the Census Bureau]. We don’t trust the guys you are doing business with.”