The campaign got under way on Monday with an appearance on “Today” on NBC along with a news conference in Times Square featuring Gary Locke, secretary of commerce, and Robert Groves, director of the census, who appeared with Michael R. Bloomberg, the New York City mayor.
The first phase of the campaign is centered on a “road tour” of vehicles, sponsored by the census, that will travel across the country to encourage participation in Census Day on April 1. The behemoth of the lot is a 46-foot trailer that made its debut on “Today.”
The tour — officially, the 2010 Census Portrait of America Road Tour — can be followed online at 2010census.gov and will be promoted with numerous elements of the new media that were not around for the 2000 census, among them Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube.
The Commerce Department will spend an estimated $340 million on the campaign, which also includes television commercials, print and outdoor ads, online advertising, events like the road tour and public relations initiatives. The commercials will include a spot during Super Bowl XLIV on Feb. 7 on CBS.
The ads will appear in 28 languages, the most ever, according to the census executives. By comparison, ads ran in 17 languages a decade ago to encourage citizens to take part in the 2000 census.
The campaign is being handled by a batch of agencies owned by the Interpublic Group of Companies, among them Draft FCB, GlobalHue, Jack Morton Worldwide (for the road tour and other events) and Weber Shandwick.