Category: Industry News.

With the digital climate gaining more ground each day, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is more important than ever when it comes to getting the most out of your business.

With the digital climate gaining more ground each day, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is more important than ever when it comes to getting the most out of your business.

Online sales are taking over the marketplace as consumers are changing their shopping habits from the tradition of brick and mortar establishments to the ease and convenience that the web offers. Ken Burke from gives us a look at how businesses can best use the search engines we all know and love to get consumers interested, impressed, and involved.

1. Get Indexed With the Top Three Search Engines
Make certain that all the pages on your site are fully indexed with Google, Yahoo! and MSN. Google typically handles 46 percent of all searches conducted online monthly, and on average will be your primary source of search engine traffic and orders.

You can be proactive about getting listed with Google by submitting your pages using Google Sitemaps. Also, submitting your site to the open directory will speed up the overall indexing process and will help Yahoo! and MSN find your site faster, as well.

Be aware that search engine robots have difficulty indexing some dynamically generated pages. In addition, the algorithms to get your pages to rank high in natural search results constantly are changing. What worked four months ago may not work today. Look to the experts to help you overcome these problems.


2. Get Your Keywords Right for Paid Search
Develop a robust list of keywords. Re-examine this list at least quarterly to ensure you optimize the most popular terms shoppers are using. Online shoppers now use four- and five-word keyword strings to more quickly find what they’re looking for. A shopper who used to search for “red sweater” now is more likely to search on “men’s red wool pullover sweater” to focus the search and yield better results.

Create keyword combinations using your existing category and subcategory navigation, and purchase them as keywords. For example, if you run a large and diverse department store Web site, you would need to purchase broad category names such as apparel, housewares, lawn and garden, cosmetics, clearance … and whatever other primary category names make up your product line.

You also need to own each sub-category name. An apparel retailer might need words like sweaters, dresses, menswear, women’s, petites, etc.

Purchase key phrases composed of the words listed above in combination with terms that describe your products such as wool, cotton, cardigan, pullover, etc.

And don’t forget about synonyms, because everybody uses slightly different terms to find the same things. You also should consider buying your brand name and branded keywords. The price per click is likely to be low, and it will ensure that you always have top position.

3. Manage Your Copy for Natural Search
You can improve your rankings in natural search by tailoring your content for better performance. While every search engine is different, you can focus your content optimization efforts around a standard set of key variables: page title, product name, metadata, image alt descriptions and visible HTML text on the page.

Incorporate your targeted keywords and key phrases in each of these variables. However, make sure you find the right balance. Repeating your keywords too often on a given page may depress keyword ranking. Use a consistent product naming convention based on terms your customers use. Call a shoe a shoe, and not “footgear.”

Proactively managing your copy for paid search is just as important. In the sponsored search listings you submit to Google, Yahoo! and MSN, ensure you repeat the keyword in your ad title and in the body of the listing. Add a differentiator such as “10,000 items online” or “lowest prices” to the body of the listing to make your copy stand out.

4. Send Them to the Right Landing Page
When your potential buyer clicks on your search engine listing, he should land on the most relevant page as deep within your site as possible, and as close to an actual point of purchase as possible. Shoppers won’t bother to search through your site to find the specific product they want. If they want a men’s red, wool, pullover sweater and you don’t hand it to them right away, they’ll go straight back to the search engine and find a competitor who will.

Send shoppers to a page that matches the level of granularity of the search terms they use. If they use broad search terms, such as “apparel,” send them to your homepage if you are a pure-play appareler or to your apparel category page. If they search for a specific product such as a red sweater, show them a specific product or present them with a result set for red sweater from your internal site search. Give them the chance to click “buy” right away.

5. Use Natural Search and Paid Search in Tandem
Natural and paid search have a symbiotic relationship. Natural search yields results more slowly and is a long-term strategy. Results are dependent on the quality and quantity of the information you incorporate into your Web site through metatags, keywords and visible page content. Natural search optimization is more difficult to do correctly, but it’s much more flexible because it’s not keyword or search engine dependent.

Paid search yields faster results with easily trackable ROI, and is limited by budget and the number of listings you can create. Whatever you do for a paid listing is specific to only one engine.

Test the effectiveness of your keywords in paid search. See what produces strong conversions and sales and incorporate these terms into your Web site to drive natural search results.

6. Benchmark Yourself
Are your search engine results delivering acceptable conversion rates, or are your pages and products not showing up at all? Are you consistently beating the competition, or are you always in second place? Know your rankings, particularly for your most important products or categories. Find out what pages currently generate the most sales and work to get your potential customers to land there.

Study your competitors. Model your approach to first meet and then beat them. Find out what keywords and phrases they use, and decide whether you should use them as well.

7. Know Your Customers and How They Search
Study your site’s internal search feature to find out what keywords and phrases customers are using. Insert these terms into your list of keywords and into the written content on your site.

Watch what happens when your customers come to you from a search engine. Do they actually buy anything? If you get a lot of browsers from Google but they don’t buy, your search standings probably are OK, but your site is letting them down. Find out what pages generate the best conversion and which products sell best; then augment your keyword list to make those pages easier to find.

8. Play to Your Strengths
If you specialize in high-end home accessories, play it up with appropriate keywords and written copy. Choose keywords that emphasize the overall value of your offering, your selection, your knowledge of your product line and your expertise in the sector.

You also can differentiate yourself from your competitors by presenting your brand value, exceptional customer service, an easy return policy and product guarantees in your ad copy or within the search landing pages.

9. Use Comparison Shopping Sites
Consumers are using comparison shopping sites more often because they make it easy to find the best price on the products they want. Their primary advantage to the merchant is that they bring you qualified, motivated buyers. They’re also a good way to introduce your business to shoppers who might otherwise never discover you.

Their primary disadvantage is that they can create downward pressure on prices. If you can’t compete on price, you can still compete using other differentiators as mentioned above.

10. Tracking, Testing and Tuning
Tracking and measurement enable you to execute effectively on anything in this list.

Modern analytics tools let you track and measure an incredible volume of data, but this can be overwhelming. Focus on the following data first:

– conversion as determined by specific keyword, category and landing page;

– traffic, sales and conversion rates from each search engine; and

– search engine rankings.

Test your keywords, landing pages and written copy to see what works best. If your analytics application allows it, set up A/B tests for your most important products and categories. Consolidate your lead in your strongest areas, then work on improving the response in other important areas.

Fine-tune your site, your keyword list and your paid listings. Sometimes you will discover an enormous improvement by making small changes, but even incremental improvements in conversion, average number of items per order and click-through rate can lead to significant improvements in your bottom line. Use all the tools at your disposal to identify where you need a boost, and work for continual improvement.



People know a great ad when they see one, but getting that ad to right people at the right time is an art unto itself. As innovation in advertising technology renders old tactics obsolete, it also opens new opportunities to reach your audience.

The central questions in digital advertising today are: Where will people listen? What content will they engage with? How do I reach them? The answers are key to understanding four trends that are shaping the industry.

1. Mobile video advertising.

Mobile video consumption is growing rapidly and providing advertisers with a way to reach consumers when they are paying attention. Between Q3 2012 and Q3 2014, smartphone and tablet video consumption grew 400 percent and now accounts for 30 percent of all online videos played, according to Ooyala’s Global Video Index. This trend has been helped along by the expansion of fast 4G/LTE coverage. The bigger iPhone 6 screen and the popularity of other ‘phablets’ (large-screen smartphones) also reflect the growing importance of mobile video. As phablets saturate the market, they will in turn feed the growth of mobile video.

Mobile video viewers are what you might call a “captive” audience. When TV commercials begin, people look down at their phones. On the bus or subway, people focus on their digital screens instead of the ads passing by in the cityscape. When radio ads begin, people change the station. However, when people are already looking at their smartphone, nothing is going to distract them. Use mobile video ads to take advantage of this undivided attention.

2. Native advertising.

When websites feature advertisements that emulate the content and style of their own site, we consider it native advertising. Native ad spending will climb from $3.2 billion in 2014 to $8.8 billion by 2018, largely because advertisers are seeing above average engagement with this format, according to an eMarketer forecast.

Native ads are typically long-form blog posts, infographics or videos that aim to inform, entertain and inspire people without directly promoting a product. For example, a banner ad from a clothing retailer might promote a winter clothing sale, but a native ad from the same retailer might discuss winter fashion tips instead. Typically, native ads are tagged with a disclaimer such as “sponsored content”, “paid post” or “promoted by”.

If you’re targeting millennials, who tend to be put off by “salesy” ad content, consider native advertising. Now that publishers are partnering with advertisers in the production process (i.e. helping them write and edit), it’s easy to get expert help.

3. Viewable impressions.

Until recently, digital advertisers were very susceptible to fraud. Many were misled into paying for bottom-of-the-page ads that no one scrolled down far enough to see. “Click fraud” was also a huge risk. Essentially, some people realized they could run up their competitors’ advertising bills by creating computer programs (“bots”) that automatically click ads. This practice became so rampant that fraudulent bot traffic may have cost the advertising industry as much as $11.6 billion in 2014. Thankfully, new viewability technology and an advertising model called “viewable impressions” are eradicating both of these problems.

With viewable impressions, advertisers are only charged if the ad appears on a user’s screen for a minimum duration. According to the industry standard, for a display ad to count as a viewable impression, 50 percent of the pixels have to appear on the screen for a minimum of one second. For video, 50 percent of pixels have to appear for a minimum of two seconds. Bots can’t create fraudulent viewable impressions because they can’t complete the actions that distinguish a genuine user view from a false one.

However, in many cases, one or two seconds isn’t nearly enough time to engage a viewer. When you purchase viewable impressions, make sure you have the option to buy guaranteed time slots (e.g. five, 10 or 20 seconds), especially if you plan to run video ads. If you purchased a 10 second slot, you’d only be charged if your ad was continuously viewable for ten seconds or longer. The rate you pay reflects the total amount of time your audience spends with the advertisement.

4. Behavioral data.

New channels, tactics and payments models will only serve your marketing efforts if ads reach the right people. Rather than spending your budget on a large set of consumers, you can more efficiently use behavioral data to target people who fit your customer persona.

While advertisers commonly target individual websites where they expect their customer to hang out, behavioral data improves upon this approach by allowing you to target groups of people across multiple advertising properties. Behavioral targeting providers can profile a group (e.g. mothers with young kids) based on an analysis of online searches, Internet browsing habits, purchasing history and much more. If you’re targeting specific types of consumers, behavioral data can mean the difference between a bungled campaign and a huge victory.

Mobile video ads, native advertising, viewable impressions and behavioral targeting are the defining trends in digital advertising. The strategies that worked for advertisers for the past five years won’t work indefinitely. As these trends illustrate, the channels are continually changing, and the audience on the other end has new habits and preferences. Get the most out of your advertising spend by testing these new four strategies and discovering what works for you.

Ad Serving and Tracking Technology Solves Two Big Problems for Marketers

via AdAge

When Facebook acquired Atlas from Microsoft for nearly $100 million in 2013, it was a head-scratcher for many industry observers. After all, what strategic value would a legacy ad server have for the world’s largest social network? Last week we learned the answer to that question when Facebook unveiled its Atlas relaunch.

Originally acquired by Microsoft as part of its $6.3 billion deal for aQuantive in 2007, Atlas served principally as an alternative to Google‘s DART tracking system. Atlas was foremost about measurement, and it was used by advertisers and agencies for tracking display ad efficacy.

So what does Facebook intend to use it for now, and what does its relaunch mean? First, it’s important to understand that Atlas’ tracking and measurement DNA is what initially made it so appealing to Mr. Zuckerberg. Starting with Atlas’ DNA and then rewriting it from the ground up allows Facebook to use Atlas as part of its push to measure cross-device and cross-platform and to leverage display targeting capabilities powered by Facebook ID.

This is a big move for Facebook, and it has more significant implications for brands and agencies than anyone could have predicted 18 months ago. Atlas opens up two new and extremely powerful capabilities for brands and agencies: It lets them measure ad campaigns across screens by solving the cookie problem; and it lets them target real people across mobile and the web.

Here’s how brands and agencies can use Facebook and Atlas to conquer a changing digital advertising ecosystem:

Solving the cookie problem

First and foremost, Facebook, like most marketers, understands that cookies aren’t working. On average, cookies have a 59% tracking success rate, and they overstate frequency by 41%, according to executives on an Atlas launch panel at Advertising Week last week. What’s worse, as the internet shifts to mobile, cookies fail to connect users across devices and do nothing to solve the challenge of mobile conversion tracking.

According to Erik Johnson, managing director of Atlas, 41% of all purchases start on one device and move to another (typically moving smaller to larger — phone to tablet or laptop). Today, advertisers typically lose the thread on this device sequence chain when measuring media ROI. The new Atlas will go a long way towards fixing this with new cross-device reporting capabilities.

How does Atlas fix the cookie problem? It uses Facebook’s persistent ID rather than a cookie, allowing Atlas to measure user activity on mobile and desktop, including mobile conversion and desktop conversion tracking. Atlas also enables media mix modeling, helping advertisers understand how to allocate their budgets across devices. This may have the most impact we’ve seen in years for solving cross-device reporting and cross-channel issues, dramatically opening up the mobile market.

Targeting real people vs. phantom people on the web and mobile

While the tracking is fantastic, Facebook’s ability to target real people across devices is even more powerful. This opens up a tremendous opportunity for brands and their agencies. Facebook’s Audience Network already enables advertisers to find appropriate audiences on a whole new set of inventory by using signals such as demographic, psychographic and behavioral data. Now, Atlas gives advertisers access to Facebook’s targeting precision across the entire web, wherever consumers access it.

Consider this use case: Marketers could leverage Facebook targeting to reach a consumer on, and then use Facebook’s Audience Network to reach that same consumer on ESPN’s SportsCenter app. This is incredibly powerful, and it’s a real shot across the bow at Google and every other vendor still trying to break mobile and desktop targeting out of separate silos.

Facebook is pushing beyond the restrictive label of “social” and rewriting the rules of the game in digital marketing along the way. The new Atlas capabilities are a substantial step in this direction. If nothing else, it highlights that social is not just a channel. Rather, social is a fundamentally different way to understand and execute digital marketing. It is far more about data than platform, and Facebook is making this vision a reality. Success in digital marketing should be about finding precise consumer audiences and identities, not abstractions like campaigns and line items. Atlas is making Facebook more people-focused than ever before, and brands and agencies would be smart to follow suit.

Brew Launches Social Media Campaign After Paying Record Sum for Sponsorship



Tecate landed a punch on Corona when it recently secured sponsorship rights to the blockbuster fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on May 2. But now the pressure is on to make the expensive deal pay off.

The Heineken-owned brand paid $5.6 million for the rights, outbidding Corona’s $5.2 million, according to a recent report by The report characterized it as a “fierce bidding battle” between the two Mexican imports in which Tecate emerged only by committing a record amount for such an event.

There is plenty of potential upside: Tecate believes the fight could draw upwards of 4 million homes on pay-per-view and at least 33 million total viewers. That would surpass other recent marquee sporting events such as game seven of the 2014 World Series (23.5 million), game five of the 2014 NBA Finals (18 million) and the 2014 FIFA World Cup final (17.3 million).

Tecate has been hoping to get in on such a major fight since it began sponsoring boxing in 2007, said Gustavo Guerra, co-brand director for the brew. “There is no doubt this is going to be the fight of the century,” he said.

But is the sponsorship worth the cost?

Consider that the reported $5.6 million price tag is roughly enough to pay for the title sponsorship of an NBA arena for a year, or to sponsor a big concert tour, according to Jim Andrews, senior VP-content strategy at sponsorship consultancy IEG. Still, he said that “it’s not an outrageous number for what they are going to be able to do surrounding it, because there is going to be a lot of attention on this fight.”

Tecate will have its name featured in the center ring and splashed throughout the arena at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. But the key to getting the most bang for the sponsorship buck rests in the marketer’s ability to gain attention in the weeks leading up to the fight. On that front, Tecate is seeking to amplify its exposure with a social media campaign, retail executions and by sponsoring viewing parties at 200 or more bars in restaurants.

From April 6 to May 3, Tecate will solicit opinions on the fight on social media via the hashtag “MyBoldOpinions.” Select fan posts will be used in digital videos starring Sylvester Stallone and renowned boxing commentator Larry Merchant. The campaign is by Saatchi & Saatchi.

Most of the on-the-ground marketing — including outdoor advertising and retail programs — will run in five states where Tecate gets a large percentage of sales and where the brand is targeting so-called bicultural Hispanic-Americans: California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Programs include mail-in-rebates with each Tecate purchase that will give consumers discounts on the pay-per-view price of the fight, ranging from $15 to $50 depending on the amount purchased. Seperately, Tecate will run a sweepstakes with prizes including tickets to the fight or getting the pay-per-view for free.

Tecate will cover its sponsored viewing parties in branding. In some cases, the brand will subsidize cover charges so that some bars can show the fight to consumers for free. The match is expected to cost $99 on pay-per-view at home, according to areport by The Wall Street Journal.

While the fight seems evenly matched, Tecate is an underdog to Corona in the U.S.

Corona Extra is the top-selling imported beer, with $1.4 billion in sales in the 52 weeks ending March 22, up 6.5% from the period a year prior, according to IRI, which does not include bar sales. Regular Tecate ranks seventh, at about $155 million, after sales fell by 3.4% in the period. The company is increasingly shifting marketing resources to Tecate Light, which grew by 55.6% in the period reaching $46 million in sales, according to IRI.

So how did Tecate outbid its larger rival? Mr. Guerra declined to discuss financials or confirm the price tag. But he said the brand took advantage of its relationship with Top Rank, which is promoting the fight along with Mayweather Promotions. Tecate has previously sponsored Top Rank fights, Mr. Guerra said. Corona, meanwhile, has historically been aligned with Golden Boy Promotions, which is not involved in the fight.

A spokesman for Constellation Brands, which markets Corona in the states, confirmed that the brand bid on the sponsorship. “We wanted to make sure we were aggressive but also fiscally responsible,” he said. “We were very comfortable with our decision to remove ourselves from the bidding process.”

For Tecate, the sponsorship comes on the heels of a new campaign for Tecate Light called “Born Bold” by Saatchi. That effort targets what Tecate describes as 21 million bicultural consumers, people who are “confident and fluid in their Mexican and American duality,” according to the brand’s description of the campaign. “They share Mexican values and American values,” said Belen Pamukoff, Tecate’s co-brand director.

Neither boxer in the May 2 fight is Mexican. Mr. Pacquiao is from the Philippines and Mr. Mayweather is from Grand Rapids, Mich. But Mr. Guerra suggested that Mr. Pacquiao “is the fighter that Mexicans and biculturals are cheering for,” noting his strong following among those demographics. “He is a very charismatic fighter.”

That won’t mean that Tecate will favor Mr. Pacquiao in its marketing. “We need to be neutral because we are sponsors of the fight, not of Manny Pacquiao,” he said.

Many times, you need to know when to bring in the pros. Especially when it comes to photography. At Denver Advertising, many times, we shoot many of our clients projects. But every now and then we need the help from the big boys. Josh, great job on the last shoot.

CHICAGO ( — There’s still nothing like the real thing. Or so say food marketers looking to stand out in the mass-produced herd. What really is “real” could eventually be for the government to determine. In the meantime, real people drink Caribou, real dogs eat Alpo, real sandwiches have Hellmann’s and Canada Dry ginger ale is made with real ginger. Don’t bother taking notes, because Wendy’s says “You know when it’s real” anyway.

Advertised “real” foods, products, services and even experiences aren’t new, but they’re on the rise. Beef as “real food for real people” is an artifact of the 1980s. Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise launched the “It’s time for real” campaign in 2007, from creative agency Ogilvy & Mather, New York. But as consumers become increasingly conscientious about what’s in their food, marketers are working to portray their products as minimally processed, and a handful of “real” campaigns have been launched in recent months.

“To some consumers, ‘real and natural’ translates to better than ‘processed’ or ‘not real’,” said Darren Tristano, executive VP-Technomic, a Chicago food-industry consultancy. “That’s what they’re trying to appeal to. That consumer wants things that are natural, and, in a way, that translates into ‘homemade,’ and other words that imply the same thing.”

Canada Dry’s campaign from JWT, Toronto, extols the use of “real ginger,” in contrast to its competitors. Wendy’s campaign from agency Kaplan Thaler Group focuses on the chain’s use of fresh rather than frozen meat, comparing competitors’ burgers to hockey pucks. Caribou Coffee launched its first TV campaign, from agency Colle & McVoy, this fall. The chain promise “real” chocolate in its mochas, and pokes fun at Starbucks’ clientele, by way of plastic dolls that don’t patronize Caribou because, they say, “We’re not real.”

These tactics shouldn’t be surprising, as the food industry has been rocked with a series of recalls in nuts, and increasing skepticism about how meat and dairy are treated on the way to the grocery store. Using the word “real,” Mr. Tristano said, appeals to consumers interested in free-range and natural products, while sidestepping certifications associated with regulated terms such as “organic.”

But today’s loophole could be tomorrow’s regulation, said Supermarket Guru’s Phil Lempert. “Do I think [‘real’ is] powerful? Yes,” he said. “Do I think that the next phase is the government will actually take a look and try to clarify what should be real and what shouldn’t be real? Yes.” Mr. Lempert added that the Obama administration is “much more aggressive than we’ve seen in a long time,” and the more marketers that use “real” to circumnavigate regulation, “it’s more likely the government will step in.”

Mike Lash from Denver Advertising on Bike

Mike Lash from Denver Advertising on Bike

A Census Campaign That Speaks in Many Tongues

Published: January 13, 2010

A campaign to encourage participation in the 2010 census reflects many of the major changes since the last census in the population that is to be counted. For one thing, the advertising, marketing and promotional efforts, to be described at a news conference on Thursday, are being produced in 28 languages – the most ever, according to the executives responsible for the census. By comparison, a campaign to encourage Americans to take part in the 2000 census was done in 17 languages.

“There’s more sensitivity to language subgroups, cultural subgroups,” said Robert M. Groves, director of the United States Census Bureau at the Commerce Department.

Among the languages being added are Armenian, Farsi, Portuguese, Ukrainian, Urdu and Yiddish, while Chinese is being divided into Cantonese and Mandarin. They will be used in ads along with English, Spanish and tongues like Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Russian, Thai and Vietnamese.
Another big difference from a decade ago is that the campaign will run in many media outlets that did not exist in 2000, among them Facebook, Flickr, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube, along with a blog by Mr. Groves. That is in response to the profound changes in the last 10 years in media usage.
The ads in the new media will join ads in traditional media, among them television, radio, magazines, newspapers and billboards. There will also be unconventional elements like a Nascar sponsorship and a cross-country road tour of vehicles containing census exhibits, led by a 46-foot trailer.

A third change from the 2000 campaign is evident in the tone of the new initiative. Then, ads carried this theme: “It’s your future. Don’t leave it blank.” By contrast, the new campaign takes a more empowering tack with themes like “It’s in your hands” and “We can’t move forward until you mail it back.”

Research among consumers indicated “a fundamental shift in attitude toward government and themselves” in the last decade, said Jeff Tarakajian, executive vice president for client services at the New York office of DraftFCB, a part of the Interpublic Group of Companies and the lead agency on the campaign.

Respondents said they now “felt more of a sense of ‘I need to be my own master.’ ” Mr. Tarakajian said. “And what came out of that was the idea that ‘It’s our census, it’s up to me, my community, to make sure the census works.’ “

Another difference is in the cost of the campaigns. For the 2000 census – the first with a budget for paid ads, rather than relying on the media to donate time and space – the Commerce Department spent an estimated $100 million to $150 million. Ten years later, the budget has grown to $340 million.

The bigger budget will help the campaign appear during TV coverage of big events like the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.

“It’s important to have broad messaging” to suggest the scope of the census, said Michael Simons, chief creative officer at DraftFCB New York, as well as to run more focused ads.

“Some themes run through all the ads,” Mr. Simons said, among them “the call to action to take part in the census” and how the form is composed of 10 questions.

In other instances, ads are being tailored to resonate with target audiences. For example, a print ad by GlobalHue aimed at African-Americans, which features the former basketball star Dikembe Mutombo, declares: “Better health care, schools and roads are all within our reach. If we each just take 10 minutes to answer 10 simple questions, we can help determine how $400 billion per year in federal funds will be dispersed in our communities.”

And many ads aimed at Hispanics include children to signal that “it’s critical people participate because this will bring our children a better future,” said Luciana Gomez, vice president and group account director at the Latino division of GlobalHue.

Another change from 2000 is that the census is trying to steer clear of a polarized political climate that has prompted at least one elected official to suggest that respondents should send a message of protest by answering only one of the questions.

Staying clear of politics may prove difficult, however, as evidenced by a report about the campaign this week in a new blog from Tucker Carlson, the Daily Caller ( The headline dismissed the campaign as “$340 million in tote bags, snacks and tailgate parties” and described the road tour as “driving around the country and hanging out with football fans.”

And there have been complaints about posters, independent of the official census campaign, created and distributed to churches by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. The posters invoked the Gospel of Luke by declaring: “This is how Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary participated in the census.” Another organization, the National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders, deemed the posters blasphemous.

“There will always be sensitivity on a number of different issues when there’s a request for personal information,” said Damien Reid, vice president and account director at GlobalHue. “The best way to combat that is total transparency, to be as clear as possible.”

To that end, the blog written by Mr. Groves, the census director, includes posts with headlines like “Misinformation About the Census” and “Why Is the Census Mandatory?”

Asked about the potential for controversy, Mr. Groves replied: “You can’t predict what it will be. That it will happen is certain. Good things may happen, too.”

In addition to DraftFCB and GlobalHue, there are more than a dozen other agencies working on the campaign. Among them are five others owned by Interpublic, including the IW Group, for ads aimed at Asian-Americans, and Jack Morton Worldwide, for the road tour and other events.