Mar 05, 2010 at 02:22 PM
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Census Courts "Hard-to-Count" Populations With $1.2 M Nascar Sponsorship

The U.S. Census Bureau is starting to really move through its $340 million new marketing campaign, announcing today a $1.2 million agreement with Roush Fenway Racing to serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 16 Ford Fusion driven by Greg Biffle for three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. This agreement comes on the heels of the Census Bureau's controversial decision to purchase a $2.5 million, :30 spot at the Super Bowl last month.

The agreement, announced today, will see the No. 16 carry a 2010 Census paint job in Sprint Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 7; Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 21; and Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, March 28. The Census Bureau's objective with the sponsorship is to " increase awareness and encourage participation among hard-to-count populations living in rural parts of the country in the upcoming 2010 Census, the three-race sponsorship schedule lines up with key census mail-out and mail-back dates."

NASCAR has 75 million fans across the country and is the number one spectator sport with an average of 120,000 spectators at each Sprint Cup Series event.

"NASCAR Sprint Cup racing is one of America's most popular sports and an especially effective avenue through which to reach a huge number of fans, reminding them their 2010 Census forms will be arriving in mid-March and to mail them back," said Census Bureau Director Robert Groves. "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."

The 2010 Census No. 16 Ford Fusion will feature the familiar Post-it Brand notes of primary sponsor 3M carrying both the 2010 Census logo and "mail it back!" on the hood, rear quarter panels and rear bumper. Additional elements stemming from the sponsorship to further extend the promotions reach include television spots on Fox during the races; a public service announcement with Greg Biffle and 10 show car dates across the country. Check out the PSA here.

"NASCAR reaches millions of Americans, and our paid sponsorship of Greg and the No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford is a practical one," Groves said. "For every 1 percent increase in mail response, taxpayers will save an estimated $85 million. Those funds would otherwise be required to send census takers to collect responses in person from households that don't mail back the form."