Is it just us?

The new Australian census ad, encouraging people to pause, and still complete their census (after the meltdown of the system on actual census night) presents a truly bizarre message.

If you haven’t seen it, have a look.

My wife pointed this one out to me.

It was an interesting decision to cast an innocent-looking couple who are made to sit, frozen, while a very-faintly middle-eastern looking stranger walks into their living room and calmly accesses their computer as they look on, powerless to stop him.  But don’t worry, your private data is safe with us.

I’m not sure this is the message they were looking for.

Even with that unfortunate element to one side, it’s odd to highlight the frozen/broken element of the whole exercise.  A whole lot of people basically felt like they wasted a night of their life ‘on hold’ for census night.  They can probably empathise all too well with the frozen couple, and don’t especially want a repeat attempt.

And even apart from all that – I simply don’t get it.  Shouldn’t the couple who’ve been frozen simply unfreeze and happily complete their census.  Why does having someone else complete it for them make any sense whatsoever?!?


One thought on “#CensusDoubleFail

  1. Postscript: To answer my opening question: No, it isn’t just us.

    Coincidentally, we watched the wonderful Gruen (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/programs/gruen/) episode 3 last night, and the topic under discussion was: the Census. It was broadcast a couple of weeks ago, but we’ve been a bit busy of late…

    During the show, they even included the same ad I discussed in this post and they made essentially the same points.

    For the record, I should say that every country needs a ‘Gruen’. We’re lucky in Australia to have a non-commercial network that can analyse and critique the advertising industry, and help us understand how it works and why.


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