US Census Bureau Real Life Stories

With 2010 Census questionnaires set to arrive in mailboxes across the United States by mid-March, the U.S. Census Bureau is preparing to launch a $133 million national advertising campaign to boost participation rates in the once-a-decade population count. The census is being promoted with an integrated advertising campaign featuring television, radio, print, online and outdoor advertisements (English and other languages), along with outreach efforts such as the Census in Schools program, ‘Portrait of America’ Road Tour, and the national and regional partnership programs targeted at reaching hard to count populations. The advertising campaign represents the most extensive and diverse outreach campaign in U.S. history, with advertisements appearing in 28 different languages.

US Census Bureau Stories site

The television campaign, also found online, features 26 people from across the United States, representing the nation’s diversity in race, gender, and nationality, but also people of different ages, political beliefs, economic situations and life experiences. View all the films on the 2010 Census site:

Click on the image below to play Breanne & David in YouTube

In 1954 the US Government withdrew recognition of the Grand Ronde Tribe in Oregon. In 1972 a group of tribal members started the movement for reinstatement of government recognition, a goal achieved in 1983 when Ronald Reagan signed the Grand Ronde Restoration Bill.

Click on the image below to play Grand Ronde Tribe members on YouTube

Grazina Biciunas-Santoski’s parents moved from Lithuania to Chicago and started Healthy Food Restaurant. 72 years later Grazina talks about what that means to her.

Click on the image below to see Grazia on YouTube

Tootsie Tomanetz and Kerry Bexley run Snows BBQ in Lexington, Texas.

Click on the image below to see the Snows video in YouTube

Chris is an unlicensed taxidermist in Austin, Texas, who is generally suspicious of government interference and bureacracy.

Click on the image below to see Chris in YouTube


The Real Life Stories campaign was developed at DraftFCB, New York, by chief creative officer Michael Simons, group creative director Gary Resch and Kevin Dreyfuss, creative director Chaz Mee, executive producer Bailey Kindlon, management director David Berenbroick and account executive Nicholas Fico.

Filming was shot by director Jason Kohn via Über Content, Los Angeles, with executive producers Preston Lee, Phyllis Koenig, Steve Wi, and director of photography Heloisa Passos.

Editors were Doug Abel, Bernardo Revilla, Justin Quagliata at Cosmo Street, New York, with executive producers Maura Woodward and producer Heather Richardson.

Jason Kohn gives some of the background for casting.

For this campaign we wanted to show real people representing all of America. So far we have shot a total of 12 days in Washington D.C., Chicago, Austin, San Antonio and Blanco, Texas, Portland and Miami. We are also doing another round of spots later this month shooting in and around New York City.

In Washington DC, when we were looking for immigrants, we spoke with the Housing Authority who pointed us to several interesting neighborhoods including a house filled entirely with people from Togo. When we looked for Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest, a spokesperson for the Grande Ronde tribe connected us with four generations of women living and working together on the reservation whose stories span a century of life including the termination and reinstatement of the tribal land itself. Sometimes we had contacts through friends and family and sometimes we met our subjects on the street. We found Chris in Austin because the sign outside his taxidermy shop had a ten-foot deer on top of a 30 foot pole. You couldn’t miss it.