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Newest Super Bowl Advertiser: the Census Bureau

Is in final negotiations to buy a 30-second spot on the traditionally highest rated TV show of the year.

With as much of 30 percent of advertising for CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl XLIV next Feb. 7 still unsold, the government may be stepping in.

No, it’s not a bailout.

Instead the Census Bureau is in final negotiations to buy a 30-second spot on the traditionally highest rated TV show of the year — a spot that could cost $2 million or more.

It’s not the first time the bureau has run an ad for the Super Bowl — the last one ran for the 2000 census.

The need for census forms to be returned April 1 forces the bureau to wage an intensive but short ad campaign every 10 years. And this time around, the window is even shorter — all ads are being focused between Jan. 1 and shortly after April 1.

The bureau also produces brochures and advertising in 28 languages and runs paid ads in six. Its budget is $305 million, much of which will go for a massive public relations and outreach effort that includes websites, publications and partnerships with retailers and media companies. About $140 million is spent on measured media.

Raul Cisneros, spokesman for the Census Bureau’s, said the timing and the visibility of the Super Bowl prompted the bureau to look again at running a spot there.

“The Super Bowl represents an excellent platform to engage a mass audience — one of the few remaining ways to reach a large and diverse viewership,” Cisneros told TheWrap.