Gov’t seeks ad agency to promote census

The Government is getting ready with for the next census in 2011, as it starts its search for an advertising agency to underscore the importance of the survey.

The Office of National Statistics brief will be handled by COI. The aim is to encourage more people to take part in the once-a-decade event, with the ONS particularly keen to appeal to the young and the elderly, the groups who are most reluctant to complete the survey.

The last census was held in 2001, when the ONS appointed M&C Saatchi to handle its £4m advertising and marketing activity. The agency created a campaign called: “Count me in”, showing different people raising their hands.

It is understood the ONS will also be searching for a direct marketing agency to help carry out a segmentation exercise to identify various hard-to-reach groups such as the migrant population.

Plans for the run-up to the 2011 census have already included a test of the data collection process, which was conducted in May last year, and a rehearsal of the complete 2011 system in 2009.

A census of population has been carried out in Great Britain every ten years from 1801 to 2001, except in 1941. Beyond 2011, the Government has recommended that if a national identity register were to be developed then this might form the basis for a future Integrated Population Statistics System, which could remove the need for a census.

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