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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.

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’.

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


Creative agency: M&C Saatchi

Executive Creative Director - Ben Golik

Creative - Jordan Morris

Creative - Danny Jones

Art Director - Tom Kennedy

Design Lead - Andy Harris

Design Director - Sophia Ben Yedder

Managing Partner - Mark Newnes

Account Director - Tia Kulkarni

Strategy Director - Matt Kemp

Programme Director - Hayley Ziepe

Producer - Rosie Nolan

TV Producer - Eliot Liss

Production Company: Knucklehead

Director - Max Fisher

Producer - Francis Mildmay-White

Production Manager - Cat Irving

Production Assistant - Becky Thompson

Location Manager - Ben Carter

Director of Photography - Christopher Sabogal

Casting - Sally McCleery

Editor - Rebecca Luff @ The Quarry

Grade - James Bamford @ The Mill

Online Post-Production - Tim Gaydon @ Creative Outpost

Audio Post-Production - Dave Robinson @ Creative Outpost

Music - ‘This Will Be Our Year’ – written by Chris White / performed by Jose McGill & The Vagaband

Stills Photographer - Dan Ross