ING Uses Web to Build Awareness

NEW YORK — ING has extended its offline campaign to the Web in an effort to build awareness for the financial services brand, a relative newcomer to the U.S.

One online execution synchronizes a banner, skyscraper and Eyeblaster to replicate one of ING’s TV spots. In the ad, Keith and his dog, Jett, the main characters from ING’s latest TV effort, look up at an ING billboard. Befuddled, Keith asks a man, “What is ING?” As the man replies, “It’s a financial services company,” a herd of loud sheep passes and drowns out his answer.

“We’re using Keith and the dog as visual cues to tie back to the TV ads,” explained Tom Lynch, head of online advertising for Atlanta-based ING.

The effort, aimed primarily at 35- to 54-year-olds with household incomes of $75,000+, will run through mid-November on such sites as Forbes.com, Smartmoney.com, Sportsline.com, CBS Marketwatch and Fool.com, among others. Online ad duties, previously handled by Circle in Boston, were handed to Tribal DDB in New York at the end of July, said Lynch. Tribal DDB parent, DDB, won ING’s general advertising account in August 2001.

Another execution embraces the fact that roughly half of ING’s target audience is unfamiliar with the brand. The ad displays a number under the headline, “People in the U.S. who don’t know what ING does.” Each time a person views the ad, the number decreases by one.

While Lynch would not disclose the budget, he said ING is allocating 10 percent of the campaign’s overall marketing budget to interactive efforts. He cited the positive brand metrics that resulted from past ING Internet campaigns, as well as the high proportion of affluent people surfing the Web, as reasons for the online push.

According to CMR, ING spent nearly $40 million in U.S. measured media last year and close to $25 million for the first seven months of 2002.