Last week, Jim Edwards @ BNET apprised us on how the U.S. Census Bureau apparently forgot all about a decade-old scandal regarding the White Housetrading ad buys in return for positive spin by doing it again with its 2010 Census campaign.
According to a Wilmington Journal report on last week's Congressional hearing to discuss the "insufficiently funded Black advertising campaign of Census 2010," both Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas) grilled U.S. Census agencies DraftFCB and GlobalHue about allegations that they were demanding that black publishers provide free content in exchange for ad dollars. The latter agency's CEO Don Coleman apparently sent a letter to the National Newspaper Association that read:
"In lieu of free ad space, all papers must agree to running six articles (preferably during hiatus weeks) about the Census 2010 as well as two editorials. If paper does not agree to the added value stipulations, buy will be canceled immediately."
While those outside the fray can debate on whether this was "requirement" versus "request for added value," a Draft insider has come to the defense of both agencies and has stated to us that editorial coverage was in fact not mandated.
"Global Hue did not mandate that any newspaper rep firms/newspapers had to provide any editorial coverage in exchange for a paid media buy, nor has Draftfcb. In fact, there are vendors that are receiving business that did not offer any added value, but were selected based on other aspects of their offerings.
It is considered standard industry practice to request added value from media vendors during the solicitation process. The goal of obtaining added value is to enhance the paid media message and hopefully increase the value of the investment. Added value generally consists of bonus inventory, waiving of incremental fees for production and editorial mentions.
Requests for added value are made during the RFP process, before negotiations are finalized. Media vendors are asked to include their offer for added value during their price proposal submission. While added value is one factor in the evaluation process, it is by no means ever a mandate in exchange for business."