Sen. Dorgan to credit card companies: ‘Are you nuts?’

Witness and revel in the shocked incredulity of North Dakota’s Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan in the face of a Hello Kitty Platinum Plus Visa credit card. The marketing campaign for the card targets the 10-year-old to 14-year-old (and younger) demographic.

In the Hello Kitty card, Dorgan has met his Joe Camel, the cartoon cigarette spokesthing who was accused of pimping tobacco to kids in the 1990s. Dorgan is no lightweight. He’s a man who chases Haliburton regularly in Senate hearings and who called out in the wilderness a decade ago not to repeal key banking regulations. Yet, he rightly staggers through this brief soliloquy on the perniciousness of the credit card companies, breaking off sentences, restarting thoughts, reiterating points, imagining and reenacting the executive brainstorming sessions that gave rise to the horror.

It’s just one of many shots exchanged in the credit-card wars waged on Capitol Hill this week. On Tuesday, the senate passed a strong credit card reform bill despite furious lobbying by the powerful finance industry lobby. This Dorgan piece is a highlight, good viewing for the C-Span crowd and for you now, too, via the Democratic Policy Committee video linked to the photo below.


This chart shows Bruce Giuliano, senior vice president of licensing for Sanrio Inc., which owns the Hello Kitty brand… He says: “We think our target age group will be from 10 to 14, although it certainly could be younger.”

Can you imagine grown men sitting around, grown women sitting around saying “What’s our target group for credit cards? We think our target group with the new Hello Kitty Platinum Plus Visa Card– ”

Is this unbelievable?

You know if someone said to you and you were in class at a Harvard case study and said: “Here’s a business proposition: What do you think it’s gonna be like if you run a company and you’re putting credit cards out there and you’re aiming credit cards at kids, 12-year-old kids?” Now this is obviously the–

Hello Kitty Platinum Plus Card!

I’d just love to know the person who thought this up, so I could say: “Are you nuts?”


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