VMLY&R Announces Selected Media Outlets for the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign

DEC. 9, 2019 – VMLY&R announced today the media outlets selected for the “Shape your Future. START HERE” paid media advertising campaign. The campaign is designed to mobilize public participation in the 2020 Census. The nearly $250 million media buy will feature a variety of advertisements per audience segment and span media channels including television, radio, digital, newspapers, magazines, billboards, and events, reaching 99% of all households in communities across the nation, particularly in multicultural and hard-to-count populations. Details on the media buy, including reach and frequency of advertisements, and the list of selected media outlets is available online at https://2020census.gov/en/news-events.html.

“The U.S. Census Bureau is conducting a robust communications campaign to reach everyone living in the United States and paid advertising is key to this campaign,” said Alex Hughes, VMLY&R Executive Director and Team Y&R Census Program Director. “Over the last two years, we’ve engaged in a collaborative multi-agency effort to develop a comprehensive, diverse, and multifaceted creative campaign and media buy. Extensive quantitative research plus focus group testing informed all aspects of the campaign, from the themes and messages, to the creative and media placements.”

VMLY&R (formerly Y&R) secured the Integrated Communications Contract (ICC) for the 2020 Census campaign in August 2016. As the contract’s primary agency of record, VMLY&R created an integrated team for this project, Team Y&R, which includes PSB, Wavemaker, Carol H. Williams Advertising, Culture ONE World, G+G Advertising, The Kalaimoku Group, TDW+Co., VMLY&R Puerto Rico, Wavemaker San Juan, Reingold, BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe),DCG, and Guidehouse.

Team Y&R managed all media planning and buying efforts for the 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, led by Wavemaker. On April 3 and 5, Team Y&R held 2020 Census Media Vendor Days to invite media outlets to submit proposals to participate in the campaign.

Six Request for Proposals (RFPs) were released. The types of paid media submitted included, but were not limited to: 

  • TV (traditional, online, streaming)
  • Digital Direct/Content (display, video, influencers, gaming)
  • Radio (traditional, online, streaming)
  • Print Newspapers
  • Print Magazines
  • Out of Home (transit, billboards, grocery stores)

“The 2020 Census communications campaign is multi-channel and multilingual, designed to reach the diverse audiences that consume English-language media as well as multicultural audiences in English and 12 languages other than English,” said Julie Lee, Executive Director of Wavemaker. The multicultural component of the communications campaign program is intended to reach the following audiences and language speakers:

  • American Indian and Alaska Natives
  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • Japanese
  • Vietnamese
  • Filipino
  • Black/African Americans (Afro-Caribbeans, Sub-Saharan Africans, and Haitians)
  • Hispanics and Puerto Rico residents
  • Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders
  • Middle Eastern/North Africans
  • Brazilians
  • Polish
  • Russians

The “Shape Your Future. START HERE” paid advertising campaign will launch in mid-January 2020 and occur in three phases:

  • Awareness – January 14, 2020 through March 12, 2020;
  • Motivation – March 13, 2020 through May 12, 2020; and
  • Reminder – May 13, 2020 through June 28, 2020.

Advertising specifically to reach households in remote Alaska will begin on December 16, 2019 as the U.S. Census Bureau begins its first enumeration process in January to reach these communities.

Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place every 10 years and determines representation in Congress. Responses to the 2020 Census will also inform how billions of dollars in federal funds are spent annually over the next 10 years across the country for critical public services and infrastructure, including health care, jobs, schools, roads, and emergency services.