Chamber puts another issue in play


The US Chamber of Commerce does not want the government to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency or anything like it, and is prepared to spend some money to build opposition to any such plan. The consumer agency, if it comes to be, would add tight regulation to mortgage and credit card practices.

The campaign kicks off in the Washington DC newspapers, centering on a butcher – a common businessperson who the Chamber suggests might offer credit to his customers. That is, until the CFPA comes in and prevents him from doing so.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this is a deliberate tactic aimed at drawing some of the heat off of banks and mortgage lenders, who have made themselves highly unpopular with American consumers, and suggest that other businesses that have not earned consumer wrath would also be affected by what the Chamber says in an overreaching piece of legislation.

The Washington ads will be accompanied by a new lobbying effort.

The Chamber will then take its message out to the American people via radio and television. It is expected that the butcher in the kick-off creative will be joined by other types of small business operators. The entire campaign is said to be working with a budget of at least $2M.

RBR/TVBR observation: This campaign is interesting – the Chamber is concerned that the almost universal focus on health care is allowing members of Congress to toil away on this matter in relative and welcome obscurity, and it’s willing to pay for a spotlight to keep the matter top of mind.

How many more issues are out there with advocates bemoaning their lack of press? Take heart, ignored advocates! Broadcasters are ready and willing to rent you their loud, efficient and effective 24/7 megaphone at very reasonable rates.

As far as the specifics of this campaign goes, speaking strictly as a consumer, we cannot remember that last time a business of any kind extended us credit other than through the normal plastic or payment plan methods, nor is there ever much reason to, because we have no objection to either when we want to use credit.

Getting a hunk of meat from a butcher and paying for it later reminds us of Wimpy on the old Popeye cartoons gladly offering to pay Tuesday for a hamburger today. And who uses a butcher any more? They hide in the back at every supermarket we ever go to.

The campaign suggests a vision of America that as far as we know pretty much disappeared along with a game of checkers over a seven ounce soda on a wooden crate in front of the general store. Norman Rockwell could paint this campaign.

In short, the Chamber may have a hard time finding anybody to connect with using this creative, since very few of us are ever offered an opportunity to use an IOU to acquire a good or service, nor do we even want the opportunity.