U.S. Census Counts on G&G – Largest Native American Campaign Is Also First Paid TV Push

G&G Advertising targets a national Native American audience when it launches an estimated $6 million campaign on behalf of the U.S. Census Bureau this fall.
G&G, a Native American-focused shop in Albuquerque, N.M., was subcontracted the minority business earlier this year by Young & Rubicam, the agency leading the Census 2000 effort.
Three television commercials feature the themes of generational continuity and heritage using images such as a multi-tribe gathering on a scenic desert plain, the faces of Indian children, and a dramatization of a young boy helping his grandmother return the census form. The spots were directed by Joe Pytka, whose previous clients have included Pepsi, Nike and IBM, and filmed on locations ranging from Akiak, Alaska, to Cherokee, N.C.
This is the Census Bureau’s largest effort to date aimed at Native Americans, and the first to involve paid television spots. Radio, print ads in tribal publications and out-of-home media will support the TV.
The budget for reaching the diverse populations categorized as Native American is still being finalized, said Michael Gray, principal of G&G and himself a Native American of Blackfoot and Chippewa-Cree descent.
“We devised our own budgets. They asked us, ‘If you had to reach every American Indian from Florida to Alaska, how would you do that?’ ” Gray said, adding that he has proposed media spending of
$3 million. Production costs totaled another $3 million.
“The media buying is really fragmented,” Gray continued. “Nielsen, Arbitron and others don’t measure Indian country . . . From a traditional media buying standpoint, it’s a challenge.”
He cited diversity among tribes as another creative challenge. Said Gray: “We have gaming tribes that are making lots of money and becoming very progressive; tribes that are still heavily dependent on the government; different languages, religions, things that are very diverse.
“For the census campaign we had to ask, ‘What are the commonalities?’ The answer is generations and coming together. The main thing is we think more holistically.”
Gray’s 12-person agency, the largest specialized Native American shop in the U.S., counts the American Indian College Fund, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Philip Morris Co. among its clients. K