Office For National Statistics Puts Community At Heart Of Inclusive “IT’S ABOUT US” Census 2021 Launch Campaign

- Major new integrated “It’s about us” push positions Census 2021 in context of community - Campaign created in partnership with M&C Saatchi

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a major new integrated launch campaign to drive awareness of Census 2021 across England and Wales. The push was developed in collaboration with creative agency M&C Saatchi following its appointment as agency partner for Census 2021 communications last year.

Census_60_Edit from M&C Saatchi FILM on Vimeo.

M&C Saatchi has partnered with the ONS to develop an inclusive campaign with broad appeal across the entire population, to ensure completion across diverse community groups. With an objective of achieving over 75% online completion, it has been described as a ‘digital-first census’.

The push will help people to understand the relevance and importance of the census, and to recognise the power of data and statistics to improve lives. In particular, Census 2021 will give the ONS fresh information to increase its long-term understanding of the impact of the pandemic, and make sure that the services people use meet the needs of our changing society. 

The integrated ‘It’s about us’ campaign is brought to life through a series of portraits from across the length and breadth of England and Wales – almost 80 in total – celebrating who we are and the communities we come from. A TV spot, directed by Max Fisher at Knucklehead, features a version of The Zombies track This Will Be Our Year, rerecorded by the Norwich-based busking band featured in the advert, in a nod to the campaign’s community focus.

The campaign is unique in its scale and breadth. Designed to reach all adults in England and Wales, irrespective of age, location, race, sex, religion or living circumstances, the inclusive push features nearly 200 members of the public from across England and Wales. It has been developed in 44 languages, with activity running across TV, radio, audio, social media, digital, out-of-home, press and PR. This is supported by student communications, a primary and secondary school education programme, commercial and public sector partnerships, and community outreach.

Developed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the campaign was produced under government and APA guidelines and under the strict supervision of a Covid-19 Compliance Officer. Measures included casting members from the same household or support ‘bubble’.  

To assist completion, the communications programme also promotes help by phone, webchat, email, social media or text message. Although Census 2021 will be a digital-first census – with an aim of securing 75% of completions online – for those without internet access the ONS is aiming to open Census Support Centres across England and Wales where it is safe to do so, as well as offering guidance in a range of languages and accessible formats.

Media planning and buying for the campaign is by Manning Gottlieb OMD/OmniGOV. The secondary schools education programme is delivered by EVERFI.


Ben Golik, Chief Creative Officer, M&C Saatchi, said: “To encourage people to complete the census, we needed to make it meaningful to them, which is why our creative focusses on community and the impact that census data can have on all our lives. From casting through to our choice of music, we’ve made this a campaign about people and their communities.

“It was also essential for us to strike the right tone when asking people to do their bit, given that they have been asked to stay at home and give up so much. The work has a sense of measured optimism which we hope feels appropriate for the challenging times we’re living in.”

Tom Firth, Managing Director, M&C Saatchi, added: “The census is always an important moment for the nation and this one, as the UK considers its future post-pandemic, feels even more significant. It’s a huge honour to be involved, and we’re really proud to be managing the entire integrated communications programme with the wonderful team at the ONS. The campaign is a celebration of ‘us’, the people who make up the country, and the positive power of the census to inform our lives in the future, whoever we are and wherever we live.”

Source: M&C Saatchi

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