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Association Bisnow
February 5, 2008



The New York City bus system might not be the first place you think of for your association's next ad blitz, but that's exactly where the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is spreading its latest message. From December through this month, AHAM's campaign is reminding Big Apple residents to use space heaters safely, as President Joe McGuire showed us when we dropped by his DC office on 19th St.   



The campaign is part of AHAM's response to a highly-publicized fire involving use of a space heater in a NY household that involved a fatality. After the tragedy, AHAM VP Wayne Morris and industry reps met with NY politicos to lay out their response. In addition to the $50,000 ad campaign (at discount rates for non-profits), AHAM put together a podcast with the FDNY's head of fire safety education; worked with an industry-standards group, Underwriter Laboratories, on improving use of extension cords; and published a brochure on safety now included in heater packaging.    


AHAM's offices feature ads from appliances gone by, like the "Red Star" Detroit Vapor Oil Stove.  Joe tells us this baby was shelved back in the 30s—apparently, its name had become an insurmountable marketing problem during the Red Scare.


AHAM's actions forestalled a call by NY City Councilman Vincent Gentile for city regulation.  A patchwork regulatory framework is something that Joe and his 170 members (Whirlpool, GE, etc.), who manufacture just about all the appliances in your home except the consumer electronics, are hoping to avoid.  On the federal level, AHAM is hoping to squelch talk of allowing states to legislate in areas currently pre-empted by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.    


Joe's getting the word out about today's energy-efficient appliances:  Did you know that a modern fridge uses less energy than a 75-watt light bulb?


Joe can only hope his legislative team (there are just two staff lobbyists on Joe's "lean and mean" 14-member staff) is as successful as he was golfing in last year's Skins Game, sponsored by member company LG.  In the pro-am portion, Joe was part of a four-amateur team, paired with pros Brett Wetterich and Dave Stockton, that mastered the Celebrity Course at the Indian Wells Golf Resort and won the competition.  Not bad for a guy with an 18 handicap!

Arent Foc
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