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Banks Planning "harry And Louise" Ads [updated]

A knowledgeable industry source confirmed yesterday that, as part of their efforts to roll back the Obama proposal for a consumer financial products regulator, several lobbying organizations representing banks are developing a "Harry and Louise"-style ad campaign, after the commercials that targeted the Clinton healthcare plan in the early '90s. The ads will emphasize the intrusiveness of the proposal--of the government "telling you what you can and can't buy," according to the source. The hope is to run them sometime in July, when House Financial Services chairman Barney Frank plans to move the measure through his committee.

The coalition has solicited pitches from at least four advertising firms. The source didn't specify the price tag for the campaign, but, perhaps tellingly, said it's intended to counter what the coalition expects to be $5 million in spending from consumer groups.

Update: I owe an apology to Jessica Holzer of Dow Jones Newswires, who broke this story on Thursday. Unfortunately, the usual due diligence on a nugget like this was a little tricky--the phrase "Harry and Louise" pulls up all sorts of false positives on Google. For what it's worth, one thing Holzer reported that I didn't is that Powell Tate and Direct Impact are among the PR firms bidding for the contract. Anyway, kudos to her, and apologies again for stealing some of her thunder.

--Noam Scheiber