U.S. Census campaign emphasizes empowerment themes

cant-move-forwardIn the next several weeks, Americans will be participating in the U.S. Census, which is conducted every 10 years. Efforts to encourage participation have evolved markedly since the last Census was conducted, in 2000. Marketing messages are now in 28 languages, up from 17, and leverage platforms including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr and a blog by the head of the U.S. Census Bureau. There’s also a Nascar sponsorship and a traveling exhibit, in addition to the traditional mass-media outlets.

Perhaps the biggest change is in the campaign’s tone. The theme in 2000 was “It’s your future. Don’t leave it blank.” This year the emphasis is on empowering people; lines include “It’s in your hands” and “We can’t move forward until you mail it back.” Consumer research found “a fundamental shift in attitude toward government and themselves” in the past decade, DraftFCB’s Jeff Tarakajian told The New York Times, noting that respondents said they “felt more of a sense of ‘I need to be my own master.’”

While the 2000 campaign made a subtle call to action, it’s not surprising that the tone in 2010 is more direct. People are looking for a sense of control over their destiny in nearly all areas of their lives, and the Census Bureau is smart to tap into this sentiment.

Photo Credit: http://2010.census.gov/ 

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