Census Spends $22.7 Million on Promotional Products

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff

If you haven’t filled out your census yet, you may be reminded to do so by a Census-branded T-shirt, hat, water bottle or pencil rather than by a knock on the door by a Census worker.

The U.S. government reported spending $22.7 million on such promotional products as part of a major awareness campaign, according to the Advertising Specialty Institute.

In total, 62.5 million promotional items have been given away in the campaign, at an estimated cost of 25 cents per product or 5 cents per person, ASI said.

Citing a Census official, the ASI said the use of promotional products as reminders could save U.S. taxpayers up to $85 million.

“So far, more than 72% of the nation’s households have mailed back their census forms, which the Census Bureau says already surpasses the total response rate in 2000 of 67%,”said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of ASI in a release. “We’re happy the promotional products industry has played its part in helping this critical survey, which the government relies on to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year.”

The spending by the government may help bolster sales for promotional products that dropped almost 10% in Q4 2009.

Overall, the Census Bureau has paid $340 million for advertising, targeting $140 million to television, print and Internet ads. The cost of these “mainstream media” ads is roughly $1 per person. According to an exclusive ASI survey, the average cost-per-impression of an ad specialty item is $0.004.

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