- In a whimsical, branding initiative, yU+Co, the design and visual effects studio led by Creative Director Garson Yu, unveiled a multifaceted campaign targetingwell, every person in America. Working under the direction of agency DraftFCB New York, the 2010 Census campaign encompasses TV, print, outdoor and online -- a media blitz that includes the work of 14 partner agencies produced in 28 different languages. ''It was an enormous project -- absolutely the biggest Ive ever worked on,'' Gary Resch, Senior VP, Executive Creative Director at DraftFCB, says. ''Were essentially speaking to every person in America and its territories, and all ethnicities. We had to make sure the messaging was consistent, but also recognize that whats right for one group might not be right for another.'' Yu adds, ''There was a very specific message that the U.S Census Bureau needed to communicate: encourage people to fill in the form and mail it back. The solution was a very direct message and execution that even a four-year-old child could understand.'' Through five :15 TV spots, the census form comes to life. In what look like paper cutouts, elements of the form get up and move across the blue and white landscape of the mailer. ''The shape of the Census form envelope is like an arrow,'' Yu explains, ''The shape of a roof -- on a hospital, a school or a house -- is also like an arrow. These components give you something thats very clever, intelligent and smart. It doesnt look like a generic motion graphics spot because we used the actual form to give vitality to the graphic instead of relying on a computer graphic. We created the animation using stop motion it looks like paper. Its borne out of the story and the content.'' The arrow, used throughout the multi-media campaign, becomes a device as elegant and clear as international signage leading the viewer through the specific stories of the spots. Boxes, dots, punctuation marks and letters on the form become whatever the message dictates. In one spot, ''Ten Years,'' the form springs to life as a blue border becomes the arrow showing viewers precisely where to go on the document. The number 10 becomes a clock counting off ten minutes and boxes become buildings that jump up on the landscape. The voiceover narrates the journey with: ''When you take ten minutes to answer ten questions, your local community gets what it needs for the next ten years.'' Another spot, entitled ''Schools,'' the xs used to fill in the form become adorable x-figure schoolchildren with their own personalities, jumping into a schoolhouse made with the arrow that leads viewers through the story. One x is a disappointed child until the schoolhouse expands to allow more children inside. In yet another spot, ''Roads,'' the xs are cars traveling down streets as the arrow splits and morphs itself into a m鬡nge of highways. The x-cars find themselves in a tangle of traffic. The VO asks, ''If we dont know how many people there are, how do we know how many roads we need?'' The spot resolves with xs chugging down the roads at a comfortable clip. Each spot is a visually striking, compelling tale with a beginning, middle and an end -- all in 15 seconds. ''How do you take a government form and turn it into something engaging?'' asked Resch. ''Thats what Garson and the yU+co team did, using the actual form itself.'' Yu says, ''Our challenge was to make it fun to fill in the form, which in the past has been seen as a turn-off. Now, the form becomes something appealing.'' Keeping the arrow as a unifying theme, yU+Cos mnemonic branding devices come in two phases -- one calibrated to launch 2010Census, and one to unveil in the middle of the campaign. In developing the first one, Yu and his team went to the source: the envelope one uses to mail back the form. In crystal clear blue and white, the animated visual is simple and direct. While the partner agencies commercials are varied, layered and relevant to the cultures they speak to, the yU+co end tag element ties them together. Phase two of the mnemonic development is a companion end tag. At this point Census workers will go door-to-door to collect information from households who havent mailed in their form. This tag begins with the shape of the arrow and then animates into a house with a door, which opens, accompanied by the line ''Open Your Door To Our Future.'' And, again, the end tag has to work across all languages, boundaries and cultures. Coordinating the work from the partner agencies was complex. ''It was quite a maneuver to mobilize that amount of people,'' Kelly Fagan, DraftFCB executive producer, says. ''The way Garson has set up the company, everyone has to perform on an extremely high level. First there was the work itself -- it had to communicate not only in TV but it had to work in outdoor, print and online, as well. But then there was the additional challenge of having to accommodate the many different languages and cultures. At the same time, executing the production had to be considered every step of the way. It all had to work cohesively.'' Carol Wong, yU+Co executive producer, says, ''One of the many challenges in designing a graphic sequence that would accommodate any of the 28 different languages is that most of the translations required longer text to communicate the same message. We had to also consider languages, which read from right to left or used characters instead of letters. From a production point of view, it had to be very user-friendly so that all of the teams could incorporate our graphics easily within their spots. Whether that involved slight variations on transparency, text size, length or speed of animation, we worked closely with each agency to provide a unique graphic for each individual need, while still maintaining the integrity of the core brand imaging and message.'' According to DraftFCB EVP and Team Census lead Jeff Tarakajian, there were three communications goals: increase mail response; reduce differential undercount; and support enumeration. ''We werent sure what to expect in the beginning, Wong adds. ''Its a lot of creative chefs to work with. But all in all, it turned out to be a fantastic experience. Each team was very collaborative, working together to brand one strong message that would work for each of the different ethnic communities.'' ''In advertising, you dont have the opportunity often to work on something that has that intense a positive impact, without the consumer having to buy something,'' Fagan says. ''We were fortunate to be a part of this project. Its our way of giving back to the community,'' Yu adds.
Client: U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC Project: 2010 Census campaign Branch Chief, COTR: Kendall B. Johnson Agency: DraftFCB, New York, NY Executive Producer: Kelly Fagan SVP/Executive Creative Director: Gary Resch SVP Creative Director: Noah Davis EVP/Group Management Director: Jeff Tarakajian SVP/Group Management Director: Wendy Glass Producer: Jennifer Glendining Design/Visual Effects: yU+Co., Hollywood, CA Creative Director: Garson Yu Executive Producer: Carol Wong