Agencies Are About to Start Vying for the $415 Million U.S. Census Contract

Deadline looms for 2020 communications work

It's hard to believe another census count is nearly upon us. For agencies wanting to work on the estimated $415 million 2020 census multi-year contract, RFP responses are due Feb. 22.

This time around the Census Bureau is putting more emphasis on digital technology as the government wants to trim costs through greater use of mobile and social.

"The communications industry has changed dramatically since the conduct of the 2010 census, principally due to changes and advances in technology, communications mechanisms and consumer expectations," according to the RFP. "The Internet, wireless technologies and mobile personal devices have opened new communications channels and media that have empowered consumers with increased connectivity to marketers. The Census Bureau fully intends to harness these emerging technologies and channels as part of the 2020 census integrated communications contract. …The [agency] contractor [selected] shall use an appropriate mix of communications tools with an emphasis on using new technology."

The final RFP was issued in late January, and agency selections are expected in August. For the 2010 census, Interpublic agencies heavily dominated the team behind the census advertising. Draftfcb, now FCB, was the creative lead, accompanied by agencies GlobalHue, GlobalHue Latino, D'Exposito & Partners, Allied Media, G+G Advertising, IW Group, Plum Agency, Weber Shandwick, Jack Morton, Scholastic, Initiative and Draftfcb Puerto Rico.