McCain chides Census for competing with Doritos during Super Bowl

News that the federal government plans to spend $2.5 million to advertise its census campaign during the Super Bowl has particularly incensed Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

In a tweet Thursday afternoon, the senator expressed his outrage about the 30-second spot, which will air Sunday evening:

While the census is very important to AZ, we shouldn’t be wasting $2.5 million taxpayer dollars to compete with ads for Doritos!

McCain's frustration aside, the Census Bureau announced last month it plans to spend about $340 million over the next year to encourage voters to fill out their census surveys. 

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That unprecedented media campaign includes Super Bowl advertisements, in particular, because the event typically attracts nearly 100 million television viewers, according to Census Bureau officials.

The agency will purchase ad time during other major sporting events this year, including the Daytona 500. It will also remind voters to fill out their forms during Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans and Chinese New Year festivities in San Francisco, according to media reports.

Federal officials maintain the expenses are warranted: Census forms are vitally important, as they ultimately determine the size of congressional districts, the number of congressional districts each state has and, consequently, how many members from that state will have a seat in the House.

McCain did not seem to dispute that in his tweet Thursday. He did, however, take issue with the fact that the Census Bureau decided to purchase time during the Super Bowl — an event well-known for its staggering ad costs.

Still, the Census Bureau's 30-second spot is hardly the game's most expensive ad buy: A CBS spokesman told Fox on Wednesday that some advertisers had spent "north of $3 million" on Super Bowl airtime.

(Cross-posted from the Twitter Room)