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New Zealand 2013 Census


This year’s census will go down as one of the biggest events in New Zealand. We were delighted to play our part in ensuring that Statistics New Zealand had a complete team on-board to complete this important project.

During February and March, around 7000 temporary staff handed out and collected 6.4 million census forms. The project involved measuring New Zealand’s total population (including visitors from abroad) and dwellings on Tuesday, 5 March. An estimated 4.46 million people were expected to complete the forms.

Over a six week period around 25,500 people applied for a Census Collector role.  We staged an integrated campaign that netted a diverse audience of candidates at a cost of less than $4 per applicant.

To be successful, we developed our own CENSUS strategy.

C = Campaign

Our thinking was objective driven. We needed to source talent within a restricted timeframe. We were working on a 1:3 ratio; i.e. for each vacancy we wanted to target at least three candidates.

We built an in-house project team, that worked together to seamlessly deliver all parts of the project. Our messaging and artwork were consistently presented over the length of the campaign across different platforms.

Clear missions (be it awareness, inform or drive) were allocated to each of the platforms we used.  All of our marketing had a consistent call for action. We wanted people to go online to learn more and ultimately to apply.

E for E

Where we could we did things electronically. Films were produced to introduce the roles and visually communicate the key selling points of joining the team. QR codes were included on printed collateral.

We wanted to utilise the agility offered by digital mediums. We liked that we could measure results 24/7 and tweak and adjust messages for different audiences at different stages of the campaign.


Some people consider newspapers old-school but they’re still very effective. On average, over 1.5m New Zealanders read a newspaper every day. Community papers provided us excellent penetration into suburban areas and smaller towns . Each insertion resulted in spikes in applications in hard-to-reach areas.

S is Social Media

We want to interact with candidates. Using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube allowed us to instigate and deliver multiple loop conversations. Adcorp managed and produced all content featured on these three channels. We also provided first line support in managing candidate enquiries on Facebook. Over 3600 people liked our Facebook page. That’s over 600 people a week liking the 2013 Census recruitment page. Over 10% of candidates submitted Facebook as being the channel they were first made aware of the opportunity on.

US <aka> us and the client

We constructed a service delivery model especially for this campaign. Our aim was to be proactive. We utilised new problem solving frameworks to ensure we were delivering fresh and relevant ideas to the client. Candidate reports and platform data was crunched on a daily basis, allowing us to identify trends and make recommendations.

We also wanted to socialise the working relationship. Throughout the campaign, regular meetings were staged.

The service model was collegial in approach. The client worked with us as if we were colleagues down the hallway.

The CENSUS approach produced fantastic results. Over 25,000 people applied to be Census Collectors. We really enjoyed the experience. The key take out is that we can apply agile approaches to score results. We’re confident we can develop an anagram for your marketing needs.
Joe Serci, Strategic Solutions Director





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