Census Bureau buys Super Bowl TV ad

Faced with record levels of red ink into the foreseeable future, Washington is spending $2.5 million to create buzz for the census — by advertising during the Super Bowl.

The Census Bureau is hoping to exploit the strong ratings from this annual attraction, aiming to get more participation from people who now seem disinclined to mail back a government questionnaire or even answer the door.

Census officials call it a good investment, saying the front-end costs of purchasing the ads can be quickly recouped if they succeed in encouraging people to mail back their census forms.

The government relies on the census not only to learn about Americans and their lives but also to parcel out federal dollars and, as required by the Constitution, to determine the number of U.S. House seats representing each state.

Associated Press

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