How do you brand and market the census when no one trusts the government?

Having a $500 million budget and ads that target specific communities certainly helps. The U.S. Census Bureau announced their 2020 campaign today and I got you covered on the branding details. Also in this issue:

  • Bloomberg and Trump bought Super Bowl ad time

  • This is the creative agency that helped Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make their big announcement

  • Someone burned down that statue of Trump in Slovenia


P.S. An art gallery in southwestern France says it’s giving Britney Spears her first art show, titled “Sometimes you just gotta play!!!!!!” after her caption on a video showing her painting outside. The gallery was short on details when Artsy asked, but we’ll see!

How do you brand and market the census when no one trusts the government?

Credit: U.S. Census Bureau

Census organizers face challenges this year they didn’t face in 2010, like a more fragmented media market, the chilling effect from a proposed citizenship question that the Supreme Court stopped last year, and other factors.

“Survey rates have been declining every year” and “mistrust in government is much higher,” said Kendall Johnson, a 2020 Census executive director, during an event in Washington, D.C.

So to complete the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau is rolling out a $500 million public education and outreach campaign beginning this month it says is based on an unprecedented amount of research. It will include more than 1,000 ads estimated to reach 99% of U.S. households multiple times.

The tagline of the campaign, “Shape Your Future: Start Here,” was created because their research found the most motivating factor for completing the census was community benefit. Census data is used to determine congressional representation as well as federal funds and grants. Population data is also used by businesses, developers, and local governments.

VMLY&R is the agency of record for the 2020 Census and 13 other agencies also worked on the campaign and helped create ads targeting specific communities.

Organizers said there is a heavy emphasis this year on people who are traditionally hard to reach because of issues ranging from language barriers to living in gated communities.

“One ad is not the answer for every audience,” Johnson said. “The creative is speaking to the messaging we found in our research that was most appropriate to each particular audience.”

There’s even a few logo variations for some communities. The logo for American Indian and Alaska Native population features two feathers encircling the standard Census logo, while Puerto Rico has a “Censo 2020” logo that includes the tagline in Spanish.

The standard logo will be used in outreach for languages other than English, alongside the tagline written the specific language:

The campaign includes more than 150 TV ads, more than 220 radio ads, and more than 1,000 digital ads. Outdoor ads will include billboards, bus shelters, and even gas station pump handles. Ads will run in 13 languages.

The 2020 Census’ 30-second “Everyone Counts” ad

It’s estimated digital will make up about 30% of the media buy, and following a 2018 test in Rhode Island, organizers estimate about 60% to 65% of self respondents will respond online.

The campaign will roll out in three phases. From January to February will be an awareness phase, introducing the census; from March to April will be a motivation phase, with messaging that responding to the census is easy; and from May to August will be a reminder phase, with messaging that responding is urgent.

A few other 2020 Census branding details: The primary typeface is Century Gothic, and the secondary typeface is Gotham (if you need more proof of the power of former President Obama’s 2008 branding, his campaign typeface being used 12 years later in official government branding is pretty good evidence). The 2020 Census color palette is black, white, and “census red,” with teal and green in light and dark, and “census blue” as accent colors:

Bloomberg and Trump bought Super Bowl ad time

In addition to spots from Budweiser, Coke, and Doritos, we’ll be getting political ads during the Super Bowl. Both President Trump and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaigns bought 60 seconds of national ad time during the game, estimated to cost at least $10 million.

This is the creative agency that helped Prince Harry and Meghan Markle make their big announcement

The couple explained their decision to become financially independent part-time royals last Wednesday on a new website, designed by Toronto creative agency Article. The agency has worked with Markle before, designing her lifestyle blog The Tig, and their client list also includes Diane Von Furstenberg, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NBA, and Nickelodeon. In 2018, Article did a rebrand for Hypebeast’s website:

Cuomo made some art to go along with his State of the State address

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) designed the above poster to make an artistic representation of his speech themes, and artist Rusty Zimmerman helped make it into a reality. It was handed out at a private reception following his State of the State address in Albany last Wednesday, per the the New York Times, and inspired by political ads and cartoons of the turn of the 20th century, particularly a 1900 campaign poster for Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan.

The poster shows a “Ship of State” sailing through a “Sea of Division” with creatures like an octopus of intolerance and sea monster of bigotry. “This is how I see us,” Cuomo told the Times. “We’re in the middle of that and we’re navigating through that.”

Obamas’ production company gets Oscars nod

Credit: @barackobama/Instagram

“American Factory,” the first film from Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground production company, has been nominated for Documentary Feature. The former president posted a photo with filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar and congratulated them on the Oscar nod. “I like this film for its nuanced, honest portrayal of the way a changing global economy plays out in real lives,” he wrote.

“American Factory” is up against docs like “The Great Hack,” about Cambridge Analytica; “The Edge of Democracy,” about Brazilian politics, “The Apollo,” about the Apollo Theater, and “Apollo 11,” about the NASA mission.

Someone burned down that statue of Trump in Slovenia

Credit: Municipality of Moravce via AP

The nearly 26-foot-tall wooden statue was called “Statue of Liberty” and created by artist Tomaz Schlegel as a statement about the rise of populism. It was burned down on Thursday, and Slovenian police are looking for the arsonist, according to the Associated Press.

“Like all populists, the statue has two faces,” Schlegel said of the statue. “One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire.” RIP to that statue.

Do fonts have a political party?

ICYMI, I wrote about a new study on the perceived ideology of typefaces that found serif and bold type is viewed as more conservative and sans serif and italics is viewed as more liberal. You can read the full story here.