Last night I received a text message from an industry colleague asking me if I was watching CNN. He told me about a commercial that had just run that was highly critical of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Unfortunately, I was watching ESPN instead of “real news.” (What does that say about me and what does that say about my industry colleague?)
I started doing some searching for the commercial on the Internet. However, before I could find it I received a second text from my friend with a link to the website of the organization that produced the commercial, called Protect America’s Consumers. (Again, what does that say about me and what does that say about my industry colleague?) Click on the image below to view the commercial.
I started doing some research on the group and the commercial. I came across this article from January 7, 2016 on POLITICO.
It seems that no one knows who is behind Protect America’s Consumers. The only person who has been identified with the group is spokesman Steve Gates. The POLITICO article states that Gates did not respond to requests for comment. The article also notes, “The address on its Virginia incorporation record matches the law firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, which specializes in untraceable pressure groups for conservative causes and whose clients include Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign and the National Republican Congressional Committee.”
Last night’s commercial focused on a single theme and then uses a number of specific issues to reinforce it. The main theme is the lack of accountability at the CFPB. To support that position the commercial first discusses the cost of the new CFPB building, stating that the Bellagio Hotel was cheaper to build, then moves to complaints about the Bureau’s treatment of female and minority employees, before finally discussing how the CFPB executives set their own salaries and the fact that those salaries “average” $10,000 per month. The commercial then closes with, “The CFPB is plagued with scandal and corruption and needs to be reformed.”
In November of last year insideARM published an article about a different anti-CFPB television commercial produced by The American Action Network (AAN). That commercial was slickly produced compared to the rather plain, under-produced Protect America’s Consumer commercial.
It will be interesting to see if these commercials have any impact, particularly during this election year.
By Tim Bauer