ING Direct Canada - TV Commercial Ignites Social Outcry

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22 January 2013
Jacob Jegher

ING Direct Canada recently launched a new marketing campaign in order to promote RSPs (Retirement Savings Plan). The campaign includes a TV commercial that depicts someone suffering from anxiety and depression during RSP season. The commercial has resulted in a rash of negative comments and complaints (see ING's Facebook page below) alleging that the commercial is inappropriate as it pokes fun at mental illness. I noticed only a handful of online users that have no problem with the advertisement, with one Facebook user saying, "Are you serious? I'm sorry, but people get offended *way* too easily, nowadays. And this is coming from someone who has dealt with a mental illness for more than half their life."

ING Direct Canada is a very social media savvy institution. Their CEO is a frequent Tweeter and they regularly leverage social channels for marketing and promotions. Given the public outcry, they are now faced with a social media crisis and it will be interesting to see how they deal with it. Their social media skills are about to be put to the test. ING Direct announced earlier today that the TV spot will be pulled.

How do you think banks should deal with social outcry? Yes, this is about to become yesterday's news but it still needs to be dealt with. Financial institutions can learn a lot from this situation, as banks are regularly bashed in social channels. It's important to know how to listen to and engage with the public and also send out the appropriate messaging. Please weigh in with your thoughts and opinions.

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Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America