ING Direct pays strangers’ bills

The brand is promoting its Thrive account with a national media buy and an unusual experiential campaign.

If you’re waiting in line for Billy Elliot tickets today and a Canadian celebrity pays for them, thank ING Direct.

In promotion of its new Thrive chequing account, ING Direct is sending out four celebs with $7,000 in their account, who will try to one-up each other in their acts of kindness. The winning celeb will get an additional $15,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.

The stunt and new product will be leveraged with a national media buy launching today including Go Transit station dominations across the GTA; streetcar and bus wraps in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal; and a print buy in Metro and magazines like Maclean’s and L’Actualité.

Handled by Initiative, the media buy also includes mobile ad placements on the Weather Network in Engligh and French markets. Creative was handled by Dashboard.

‘We felt that we could build awareness and demonstrate the features easier by actually having people use it and see it,’ says Brenda Rideout, chief marketing officer at ING Direct, about why the bank opted for print and online for this campaign as opposed to broadcasting, which is a medium they utilized for a recent television campaign.

The Thrive account was pre-launched last summer to existing ING Direct customers, and tweaked with their suggestions before the official launch this week, explains Rideout. With this campaign, the bank hopes to sign up 100,000 new customers, she tells MiC.

The four celebs – a.k.a. the ‘THRiVEtastic Four’ – are Calgary Stampeder Henry Burris, former Vancouver Canuck Trevor Linden, Toronto web expert and TV host Amber MacArthur and Montreal actress Tammy Verge. The team will be Tweeting about their experiences and ING Direct will use Facebook to spread word about the celebs’ philanthropy.