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Census goes NASCAR this weekend

By Ed O'Keefe

NASCAR fans (The Eye's father-in-law among them) might notice a different paint job whipping around Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. The U.S. Census Bureau is sponsoring Greg Biffle's No. 16 car for the next three Sundays as part of the agency's advertising and outreach efforts.

The $1.2 million deal allows for the 2010 Census logo to appear on a Post-it note, one of the major products of the car's primary sponsor, 3M. The Fox television network will also air promotional spots during the race, and Biffle appears in a new public service announcement that promotes participation in the headcount.

"It is our hope that NASCAR fans across the country see the No. 16 car on the track and are encouraged to speak for their community by filling out the forms and mailing them back," Census Director Robert Groves said in a statement.

Biffle
NASCAR car No. 16 will carry the Census logo for the next three Sundays (Courtesy U.S. Census Bureau)

The sponsorship coincides with arguably the three most important weeks on the census calendar -- the period when the agency mails census forms to American households and hopes to get most of them back. The higher the response rate, the less money and manpower the agency will have to spend on follow-up interviews. The expensive, time-consuming and labor-intensive process will require hundreds of thousands of temporary workers.

The Census Bureau also plans aggressive advertising during this month's March Madness men's basketball tournament and spent millions on a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

Incidentally, Biffle's in the middle of a good year: He's currently sixth on the 2010 Sprint Cup Series leaderboard with three recent top-10 finishes.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 5, 2010; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Census  
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Comments

The $1.2 million deal allows for the 2010 Census logo to appear on a Post-it note, one of the major products of the car's primary sponsor, 3M.

The Census Bureau also plans aggressive advertising during this month's March Madness men's basketball tournament and spent millions on a 30-second Super Bowl ad.

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What a waste of our money. Stick a stamp on the form and mail it. Besides, the Post Office could use the money.

Posted by: snowy2 | March 5, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

The consensus is.... Biffle stinks.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 5, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm with snowy2 on this one. Add a page explaining the purpose of the census for those who just fell off the turnip truck, but anyone who finished high school in America shouldn't need "advertising and outreach efforts."

Is 10 years too long to remember what the census is?

Posted by: wizard2 | March 5, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

How about counting the millions of American citizens who live abroad at the time of the census? That would be a better use of the money.

Posted by: AnonymousBE1 | March 5, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

It costs money to make in-person visits to the many people who don't mail the form back. The Census ads have been pretty dumb so far, but if advertising produces even a tiny uptick in the mailback rate it will save taxpayers millions.

Posted by: schmert | March 5, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

The census must really be kidding. These ads are completely useless, and will not encourage anyone to fill out and return the forms. The ads never ask anyone to do that. Have you seen them? Did they make you want to fill out a census form? Did you even know that the ad was for the census?

Posted by: jamesh256 | March 5, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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