Census ad flops

The federal government dropped $2.5 million to air this ad, plus whatever it cost to produce it:

The ad was a flop:

The U.S. Census Bureau’s “Snapshot of America”  Super Bowl 44 ad has met with harsh criticism from television writers, media pundits and the Kellogg School of Management, which gave the Census ad an “F” grade — the lowest of any commercial that ran during Sunday’s game. . .

USA Today’s ad meter compiled the responses of 250 adult participants in McLean, Va., and San Diego, Calif., by “electronically chart[ing] their second-by-second reactions to ads during the Super Bowl.” Among this test group, the Census spot placed 52nd out of 63 ads.

John Zirinsky, a senior analyst at the Lombardo Consulting Group, spent some time testing a potential ad for this year’s Super Bowl, using focus groups, in-depth interviews, and “just about every contemporary methodology.” His take on the Census ad is that it failed several essential tests for a successful Super Bowl ad.

“The first, most basic criteria for a successful ad is that it must be understood—on some level—by those watching.”

I guess billions are chump change in the budget today, so $2.5 million ought to be beneath notice. But did they have to advertise the fact that they are wasting our money on the freaking Superbowl?

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