arrives along with ING Direct contest

The virtual bank was first out of the gate yesterday, when a Canadianized version of the social networking site debuted.

How far would Canadians go for a bit of fame and a chance at a lot of money? ING Direct was first on board to mark the launch of yesterday with an exclusive promotion.

Introduced in a Promoted Video slot on the main page, the Canadian Superstar Saver Search invites Canadians to upload videos showing how far they go to save money – and get a chance at $10,000 prizes for the best French and English entries.

The ING video shows average people doing everything from reusing disposable paper towels to hoarding hotel shampoo to save a buck. Supported by banner advertising on the Google and YouTube networks, the video logged more than 4,000 hits on the first day.

The virtual bank, which allots ‘a good portion’ of its ad spend to online media, feels right at home in a dynamic online campaign with a broad demographic reach, ING Direct Canada VP marketing Mark Deep tells MiC. ‘I think there’s a lot of synergy,’ he says, adding that he has used Google Keywords and placed ING Direct ads through the network in the past.

While one aim of the contest is to increase brand awareness by driving potential new customers to the ING website, ING Direct is also targeting existing customers with an email campaign and banner ads in open and secure areas of its website, all of which lead to a microsite at

‘What made sense from our perspective was to take advantage of a lot of our loyal clients who are brand advocates and want to tell their friends about us,’ says Deep. ‘So social networking really made sense. It’s a good way for people to have fun talking about different ways to save money and interact with our brand in a new medium.’

Deep added that media AOR Media Experts were ‘instrumental’ in negotiating the deal. The creative idea and conceptualization for the campaign was created by ING Direct AOR GWP Brand Engineering, while Henderson Bas provided interactive expertise. Both agencies are based in Toronto. The contest runs until January 31, 2008.