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 ‘GlobalHue’

In Focus: How your $timulus package money is being $pent by the Cen$u$ Bureau

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

H/t to Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporting outlet Pro Publica for sharing the following data with us. Here are some screen captures that depict how your taxpayer dollars are being spent (…interestingly, Census Bureau Communications Director Steve Jost’s former boss Carolyn Maloney represents New York City and the areas where $125,000,000 in stimulus money is headed in communications contracts!). The amount of money being spent on partnership support is particularly disturbing as I have received multiple reports of partnership materials being DISCARDED by the palette!

NYTimes ad critic analyzes 2010 Census ad campaign

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

Below is Stuart Elliot’s commentary as he answers readers’ questions about 2010 Census ads. Will the Census Bureau and Draftfcb threaten to take away the New York Times’ contract because Stuart was somewhat critical of the ad campaign?

Q: (Reader)

Just this morning, as I was reading NYTimes.com, I was struck by the short films that the U.S. Census is running to help persuade people to return their census forms.

Usually I ignore any and all advertisements online, but I found these fascinating because they present people who have reasons (good or less good) for mistrusting the government as encouraging citizens to participate. Who is responsible for the films?

A: (Stuart Elliott)

The films are part of a Web series, called Portrait of America, which features “real people expressing their reservations about participating in the Census and then overcoming them once they examine the form,” says Wally Petersen, a spokesman for DraftFCB in Chicago, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

The DraftFCB New York office created the Web series in its role as the lead agency for the Census campaign. “More than a dozen agencies produced more than 400 pieces of marketing communications” to encourage participating in the Census, he writes in an e-mail message, adding that the work is “targeting multiple audiences” in terms of races and ethnicities and appears in 28 languages.

Q: (Reader)

Something about those ubiquitous U.S. Census television ads has me scratching my head: the closing call to action. On screen invariably is the phrase “Census 2010” while the voice-over announcer invariably says “2010 Census.”

This strikes me as a weird inconsistency, not what one usually sees in a presumably well-considered, well-heeled campaign. In other words, “Huh?” What can you find out?

A: (Stuart Elliott)

Back we go, dear reader, to Mr. Petersen, who offers this reply in another e-mail message: “The formal name, ‘United States Census 2010,’ is a mouthful and sounds too bureaucratic. Lots of brands have nicknames. Look at Mickey D’s, for McDonald’s; B.K., for Burger King; and the Shack, for Radio Shack.”

“Saying ‘2010 Census’ simply functions as a short and memorable nickname,” Mr. Petersen concludes.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: Census Bureau, GlobalHue, and NNPA should all be held accountable…

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

On March 12, allegations surfaced that GlobalHue (the agency hired by the government to coordinate the 2010 Census advertising campaign for minority-focused media organizations) required that the National Newspaper Publishers Association (a coalition of African-American newspapers that GlobalHue purchased Census Bureau advertising space from) would each write a series of six articles and two editorials about the 2010 Census. If the already struggling newspapers didn’t publish the articles and editorials, they were in jeopardy of losing these vital advertising dollars. To make this concept more abstract, this is an example of government-supported coercion, as trading editorial content for money leads to the spreading of pro-government propaganda, a system that has no place within American democracy or the American media.

Angela Spencer Ford, a representative of GlobalHue said, “With regard to added value from the Black newspapers, in a proposal dated 12/31/2009, the NNPA recommended that GlobalHue request participating Black newspapers promise the following:

“In lieu of free advertising added value, I recommend we ask all participating newspapers to promise to run, during the paid advertising campaign, at least 6 news articles and 2 editorials stressing the important of completing the 2010 Census. African American/Black readers believe in the Black Press. African American/Black readers have been guided by and represented by the Black Press for more than 100 years. The combination of paid advertising and the Black Press endorsement will have great success in increasing the completion ratio.”

GlobalHue accepted the NNPA’s added-value recommendations and issued insertion orders to all newspapers accordingly.  The added value guidelines as recommended by the NNPA led to concerns by a few representatives of the Black newspaper community.”

Though it is necessary to state that individual black newspapers were not responsible for the ad choices that the NNPA made, it is completely unethical that Danny Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and head of the NNPA, was complicit in these actions. He should now be held accountable for putting finances above journalistic integrity.

Census Bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner responded, “The National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) was actually hired by DFCB [the lead advertising agency for the 2010 Census] and the Census Bureau last year to handle Black/African American newspaper media buys.  The request for their members to provide the Census Bureau with added value originated with NNPA, which was paid $195,000 as one of the two contracted media buyers for the Black audience.  In fact, all of the more than 3,800 media outlets selected in the 2010 Census advertising buy were asked to provide added value, which is a standard industry practice.”

At no point does Buckner consider the difference between “added value” and paid editorial content.

Sadly, this situation is not unique. Ten years ago, a Salon.com investigative report led to the discovery that the White House was covertly financing anti-drug messages that appeared on all of the major television networks. As Daniel Forbes reported in 2001, “Two years ago, Congress inadvertently created an enormous financial incentive for TV programmers to push anti-drug messages in their plots — as much as $25 million in the past year and a half, with the promise of even more to come in the future. Under the sway of the office of President Clinton’s drug czar, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, some of America’s most popular shows — including “ER,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Chicago Hope,” “The Drew Carey Show” and “7th Heaven” — have filled their episodes with anti-drug pitches to cash in on a complex government advertising subsidy.”

That the Census Bureau had no qualms in permitting similar actions, albeit not reaching as large of an audience as those who were affected by the 2000 scandal, is both ludicrous and deceptive. In this instance, the Census Bureau has not only refused to admit wrongdoing in this situation; Buckner even attempted to justify these actions. Those who should be most upset about this situation are the readers of black newspapers. Unfortunately, these individuals are most likely unaware that the content they are reading is influenced by goals of the US Census Bureau and GlobalHue, as well as the financial interests of the NNPA.

While the overall message that the black newspapers are sending when they publish articles that promote the 2010 Census is good, because the organizations are bound to an advertising/editorial content contract, it is unlikely that they will be able to cover any problems with the 2010 Census – ranging from vague employee hiring practices to mailings not reaching the proper addresses to poor turnouts at Census Bureau sponsored events. The failure of the black press to report on the negative aspects of 2010 Census operations is detrimental not only to each publication’s credibility, but to the role of journalism in American democracy as a whole.

Official response from GlobalHue…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here’s the official response from GlobalHue, answering allegations that were made last week:

March 15, 2010

Contact: Angela Spencer Ford

GlobalHue’s Statement Regarding NNPA Allegations

GlobalHue has long respected the Black Newspapers and their value to the Black community. We are however concerned about the recent allegations from some members of the National Newspaper Publisher Association (NNPA) – also referred to as the Black Press – which was subcontracted by GlobalHue to negotiate and execute all Black newspaper buys for the 2010 Census.

In 2009, following a competitive selection process, the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) was selected to manage the Black newspaper buy. The NNPA is headed by Mr. Danny Bakewell, publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel. The NNPA was selected as a subcontractor because of their extensive knowledge about the Black newspaper business.  The NNPA is receiving payment for their services, and Mr. Bakewell is one of two NNPA subcontractors actually conducting the work on behalf of the Census Bureau.

In close consultation with GlobalHue, NNPA conducted negotiations with media properties for ad placements.  NNPA also made recommendations to GlobalHue on what the terms of the agreement with the media vendors should be. One of the items in the negotiations was the added value the media vendors would offer.  All of the more than 3,800 media vendors participating in the 2010 Census media buy were asked to provide added value.  This is a standard industry practice and an important factor in informing the public about the Census.

With regard to added value from the Black newspapers, in a proposal dated 12/31/2009, NNPA recommended that GlobalHue request participating Black newspapers promise the following:

“In lieu of free advertising added value, I recommend we ask all participating newspapers to promise to run, during the paid advertising campaign, at least 6 news articles and 2 editorials stressing the important of completing the 2010 Census. African American/Black readers believe in the Black Press. African American/Black readers have been guided by and represented by the Black Press for more than 100 years. The combination of paid advertising and the Black Press endorsement will have great success in increasing the completion ratio.”

GlobalHue accepted the NNPA’s added-value recommendations and issued insertion orders to all newspapers accordingly.  The added value guidelines as recommended by the NNPA led to concerns by a few representatives of the Black newspaper community.

In response, GlobalHue amended the value added guidelines and new insertion orders were submitted to all of the newspapers that received the original insertion order.  While the new insertion order asked that every paper make an effort to include articles/editorial pieces about the 2010 Census, it also made it clear there was no quid pro quo for advertising buy.

Of the $23 million Black Audience paid media plan, Black newspapers are receiving 11 percent of the ad dollars for this audience. At this time, 173 African American, African, Caribbean and Haitian newspapers in 64 markets across the country are being engaged in the buy.

# # #

Official Census Bureau Response To Charges That Ad Agency Traded Ads For 2010 Census Coverage

Monday, March 15th, 2010

In response to last Friday’s allegations of improprieties and scandal involving ad agency GlobalHue’s dealings with newspapers, Census Bureau PR man Stephen Buckner provided the following response:

The National Newspapers Publishers Association (NNPA) was actually hired by
DFCB and the Census Bureau last year to handle Black/African American
newspaper media buys.  The request for their members to provide the Census
Bureau with added value originated with NNPA, which was paid $195,000 as
one of the two contracted media buyers for the Black audience.  In fact,
all of the more than 3,800 media outlets selected in the 2010 Census
advertising buy were asked to provide added value, which is a standard
industry practice.  Each media buyer made it clear that this was voluntary
and that each media outlet would get credit for any previous coverage they
may have run prior to the buy.

Black newspapers are receiving about 11 percent of the total ad dollars for
this audience despite media consumption research showing that they only
spend 6 percent of the their time reading newspapers.  About 80 percent of
the media budget is being targeted among popular Black television and radio
programming.

Mindful of taxpayers dollars, the Census Bureau leveraged it’s $133 million
advertising campaign to secure nearly $30 million in free advertising –
all of which is an attempt to increase public awareness and motivate every
household to mail back their 2010 Census forms.  In fact, if everyone
mailed back their form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of the census by
$1.5 billion.

MyTwoCensus Editorial: If scandal proves true, the Census Bureau’s violation of the First Amendment is inexcusable!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Today it was alleged that the Census Bureau’s advertising partner, GlobalHue, directed newspapers across the country to face a loss of Census Bureau advertising dollars if they didn’t write six (presumably positive) articles about the Census Bureau’s efforts. If this proves true, it is an example of governmental coercion and extortion, in that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of the press. In democratic (lowercase d) regimes, the government doesn’t mandate media editorial content. (We’re not living in Iran, North Korea, Cuba, or Venezuela, and for that we should be thankful…)

Yet again, history has shown to repeat itself as similar illegal activities took place between the government and the media industry in 2000. In the age of Obama’s government transparency, why have we reverted back to the 1960s — to a time before Ralph Nader authored the book Unsafe At Any Speed — when newspapers feared retribution from auto company advertisements if they ever wrote anything negative about automobiles?

The claims that came to light today fully validate all the work that MyTwoCensus.com has done, but it also makes us wonder: Has the proliferation of fluffy 2010 Census-related stories from other media sources (which may now be directly tied to this scandal) masked problems and deficiencies in 2010 Census operations? Have publishers held stories that were critical of the Census Bureau, for fear that essential advertising dollars would disappear in this age of media industry uncertainty?

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.

Freedom Of Information Act Request Granted? Nah, Not Really

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Without sounding preachy, if there’s one underlying goal of MyTwoCensus.com, it is to bring more transparency and knowledge about the 2010 Census to the people of the United States of America. One way that we seek to accomplish this goal is by making Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain information that is not available to the public. One such investigation that produced FOIA requests related to the $200 million 2010 Census media contract with Draftfcb, GlobalHue, and other firms involved with the 2010 Census advertising and marketing efforts. We were initially thrilled last Thursday morning when we finally received copies of the information that we requested. However, all is not hunky-dory in Censusland. Out of the 132 pages that were sent to us, 60 pages contained segments that were partially or fully redacted. Thus, our ongoing analysis of this contract will not ever be as complete as it could possibly be. All of this information has been redacted under FOIA clause (b)(4):

Exemption 4

Exemption 4 of the FOIA protects “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.” (1) This exemption is intended to protect the interests of both the government and submitters of information. Its very existence encourages submitters to voluntarily furnish useful commercial or financial information to the government and it correspondingly provides the government with an assurance that such information will be reliable. The exemption also affords protection to those submitters who are required to furnish commercial or financial information to the government by safeguarding them from the competitive disadvantages that could result from disclosure. (2) The exemption covers two broad categories of information in federal agency records: (1) trade secrets; and (2) information that is (a) commercial or financial, and (b) obtained from a person, and (c) privileged or confidential.

PART1--- Outgoing Final Response 09-209 8-12-09.pdf (page 1 of 36)

We’re making progress in our effort to obtain contract information about DraftFCB, Globalhue, etc.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Outgoing Extension Response 09-209 8-5-09.pdf (1 page)

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)

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.