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ING Direct Lures Teens With Cash, MacBooks, iPods

Campaign is the first from new agency Berlin Cameron

Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez via Getty Images

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What's as valuable to teenagers as cash in this stultifying economy? Well, MacBooks and iPod Touches, based on ING Direct's latest marketing push—for a new debit card/online bank account called Money. 

ING Direct is dangling both cash and Apple products as bait for teens to register interest in Money, which launches Sept. 24. Ten teens will each win $1,000 cash, which will be deposited in their accounts. Ten others will win MacBooks and 20 more, iPod Touches.

The prizes are a key element of a new campaign from Berlin Cameron United that also includes a 25-story digital billboard in Times Square, a Facebook page, a series of online ads and kiosks at malls in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Paramus, N.J. The ads bear the Swingers-like tagline of "That's so money!"

The estimated $10 million campaign is the first work from the New York shop since it joined ING Direct's creative roster—along with Goodness Mfg.—this past spring. Both shops competed in a broader review of ING Direct's creative business and each walked away with product assignments. ING Direct's total media spending this year is projected at $25 million.

The new product launch comes amid Capital One Financial's move to acquire ING Direct USA for $9 billion in cash and stock. The deal is subject to regulatory approval and if approved, won't close until late 2011 or early 2012.

Although teens are the core target for Money, 11- and 12-year-olds also can sign up. And those who submit photos may appear on the digital billboard, which goes up Sept. 15. Their flash of fame will be fleeting, however, as each face will only stay up for 15 seconds.

Parents also are targeted in the online ads, which will appear on Facebook and Web sites such as those for U.S. News & World Report and GreatSchools. That may explain the retro-ish tagline that conjures a movie that opened before most of the teens were born. 

"We wanted to unveil Money to teens in a language they understand, while also appealing to parents who don't want to be treated like a human ATM," said Ewen Cameron, CEO of Berlin Cameron.

Or, as ING Direct marketing chief John Owens put it—somewhat delicately—Berlin Cameron "demonstrated a keen understanding of the highly emotional connection between teens and parents when it comes to money."