The importance of being Ernie
The recent field operations for the 2006 Census owe part of their success to the support of the highly effective public relations campaign.
A significant part of this campaign was the new approach the ABS took in advertising the 2006 Census messages. TV presenter Ernie Dingo was selected as the focal point for 2006 Census advertising campaign.
The Australian Statistician, Dennis Trewin, said Ernie Dingo had a uniquely broad appeal across the entire Australian population “as he invites us to do our bit for Australia’s future by completing the Census form.”
Mr Trewin added that the selection of Ernie Dingo to present the Census advertising was consistent with the central communications strategy of the ABS. This involved a more “humanised” approach to getting out essential Census messages.
The ABS selected Euro RSCG Australia, who won a competitive pitch involving several agencies in November last year, as the advertising agency for the 2006 Census campaign. Their pitch featured Ernie in television, radio and print advertisements.
The success of the advertising campaign is evident from the results of the independent analysis undertaken in the lead up to Census Night. This analysis revealed that “the excellent levels of recall and recognition of the 2006 Census Advertising campaign suggest that the decision to use Ernie Dingo as the lead presenter in the advertising is very well vindicated as it has led to very good levels of interest and attention”.
The 2006 Census advertising campaign was part of a comprehensive PR campaign for the 2006 Census. This included having Census PR managers for each state and territory. The campaign helped promote high levels of awareness among the public of the 2006 Census and its benefits.