'Consumer Reports' push takes on credit card debt

YONKERS, NY: On this coming Monday, Consumer Reports planned to begin a public-education campaign to inform shoppers about credit card debt.

YONKERS, NY: On this coming Monday, Consumer Reports planned to begin a public-education campaign to inform shoppers about credit card debt.

The effort ties into a full-page advertisement in USA Today that the publication anticipated running on November 24. The spot will tell readers, “There is no ‘bailout clause' in your credit card contract.” It will also note that Americans owe nearly $1 trillion in credit card debt. For PR, the magazine's internal team is working with The Rosen Group and Attention PR.

“There are many advantages to [credit card use], but there are also a lot of pitfalls – rising interest rates, shrinking payment windows,” said Ken Weine, VP of communications at Consumer Reports. “What we are particularly drawing interest to is that consumers have more than $1 trillion in credit card debt.”

Each year, the title runs a campaign that begins around Black Friday. Last year, it warned about the number of gift cards that go unused.

Weine explained that the campaign, which concludes the last week in December, will target local and national broadcast outlets, consumer and financial publications, and media and advertising trade titles.

Tod Marks, author of the Tightwad Tod blog on Consumer Reports' Web site, will be the magazine's main TV spokesperson. Consumer Reports hopes to reach a broad demographic, Weine said.

The magazine will also conduct an SMT and outreach to Washington-based advocacy groups and legislators, as well as The Washington Post and The Hill, he added.

In addition to pitching financial blogs, the effort will employ Consumer Reports' Facebook page and Twitter updates, said Curtis Hougland, founder of Attention PR, the organization's social media firm.

USA Today is providing reach, and the online engagement is intended to provide influence,” he said. “In this way, we extend the life of the ad beyond one day.”

The Rosen Group began early outreach to The New York Times this month, then media and advertising trade publications, in mid-November, said firm president Lori Rosen. The firm has been AOR for the organization's ShopSmart magazine since 2006.

The campaign has an undisclosed budget.

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