Advertising Professor Chairs Assessment Panel to Evaluate 2010 Census Campaign

Jerome D. Williams, the F.J. Heyne Centennial Professor in Communication at The University of Texas at Austin, served as chair of the assessment panel that has endorsed the U.S. Census Bureau's 2010 Census Integrated Communication Campaign.

The U.S. Census Bureau today announced that the independent panel of five distinguished marketing and communications scholars unanimously agreed that industry and academic best practices were used to develop the paid media portion of the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign.

"My overall assessment is that the processes to develop the 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign are fundamentally sound," said Williams. "I feel the Census Bureau and the DraftFCB team have done an exceptional job and are to be applauded for what has been developed so far under very challenging conditions."

The Census Bureau asked Williams to lead the Academic Assessment Panel in April 2009 to evaluate the methods used to define and develop the communications campaign.

This was the first time the Census Bureau has commissioned an objective panel to review the communications campaign's work prior to the conclusion of the decennial census. It is an additional element in a very extensive external review process by the Bureau, which includes the Congress, formal advisory committees, stakeholder groups, representatives of the Census Regional offices and the Department of Commerce. Obtaining recommendations from a panel of academic experts at this early juncture allowed the Census Bureau sufficient time to employ their recommendations before the media implementation plans were finalized.

"The Academic Assessment Panel's recommendations have enhanced the 2010 Census Communications Campaign," said Raul E. Cisneros, the Census Bureau's 2010 Census Publicity Office Chief. "Their completely independent and objective review allowed us to look at the work done to date on the campaign with fresh eyes and make improvements and refinements where needed. The Census Bureau must count everyone in this country once, only once, and in the right place, and a robust and effective communications campaign is vital to help us reach that goal. We are grateful for the very serious and intensive work the panel undertook in a short time frame."

The 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign is composed of paid advertising, public relations, partnerships, online interaction and a Census in Schools program that have been designed and guided at every step of the process by detailed research. Each of these components will be crucial to increasing the public's awareness of the 2010 Census and motivating participation in the decennial enumeration.

Williams, a professor in the Department of Advertising, is an expert on consumer marketing and advertising, with emphasis on issues related multicultural advertising and marketing.

About the 2010 Census

The 2010 Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution. Census data guide the distribution of more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year. They're also used to determine Congressional apportionment and to help guide planning decisions, such as the placement of schools, hospitals, transportation, and business and industrial development. The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in history, consisting of 10 questions and taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict laws protect the confidentiality of respondents and the information they provide.