U.S. Census launches $500 million ad push in 13 languages

"The time to be seen, heard and counted. 2020 is time to shape OUR future."

The U.S. Census Bureau, in partnership with VMLY&R (Team Y&R), has revealed its $500 million campaign to raise awareness and showcase the importance of reaching as many households as possible across America for the 2020 Census.

After conducting in-depth research, the Census Bureau and its agency team created more than 1,000 ads in 13 languages to reach 99 percent of U.S. homes for the "Shape your Future. Start here" initiative. Team Y&R includes: PSB, Wavemaker, Carol H. Williams Advertising, Culture ONE World, G+G Advertising, The Kalaimoku Group, TDW+Co., VMLY&R Puerto Rico, Wavemaker Puerto Rico, Reingold, BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), DCG and Guidehouse.

One of the spots, "This is Me," starts off with lines across the screen that read: "The time to be seen, heard and counted. 2020 is time to shape OUR future."

Another, dubbed "Everyone Counts," the narrator reads: "In America, we all count. No matter where we call home, how we worship or who we love."

While not directly states, the ads underscore inherent tensions in America around immigrants, specifically President Donald Trump pushing to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. He was defeated by the Supreme Court this summer. 

The campaign, about $250 million of which has gone to the media buys, with the rest being divided between creative, strategy and community outreach, will run in three phases. The first is around awareness and education from January 14 to March 12, followed by motivation and participation March 13 to May, and ending with reminders and non-response follow-ups May 13 to June 28. Media includes TV, radio, digital, newspapers, magazines, billboards, events and more. 

Culture ONE World, the official AOR focused on national Hispanic and Latino community outreach, is handling all media planning and buying aspects at $50 million (21 percent) in media across all three outreach phases.The agency’s main campaign message is that everyone in the U.S., regardless of immigration status or country of origin, matters and should be counted in the 2020 Census. 

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