Their new Thrive chequing promises to give back the average $185 a year Canadians pay in bank fees.The pitch: unlimited free chequing, and access to deposits and withdrawals at ATM machines. (ING has no branches, only a few ING Cafes in major markets).
The splashy launch included women in orange bathing suits jumping in fountains, billboards that reveal themselves when passersby remove coins, and fun contests.
The marketing message at launch: "Today we bring you Freedom." Nice insight behind that one -- speaks to deeply felt wishes, especially in a tough economy.
Where the Woops comes in
The Woops feature offers to cover your mistakes up to $250. A much better name than "Overdraft Protection" and again, speaks to the reality for most people, that an unintended overdraft is a mistake, not a moral failure.
There are also e-mail alert features included, to give people quick updates about their account balances. Another nice touch that acknowledges the reality that few people maintain detailed banking records now. And also leverages mobile without having mobile transaction capability.
How to reach people -- send the President to a shopping mall
Imagine a bank president speaking at a shopping mall -- that's what happened here. Of course ING Direct is a consumer bank, but even so, this is a big departure from the staid and stodgy approach we usually see. And of course, what a great way to reach people from coast-to-coast, in a major tourist destination.
They've also added scarcity to the mix -- the account is only available initially to 10,000 of their million plus customers.
Yup, there's a social media strategy.
Finally, clever leverage of social media, with Flikr, YouTube videos, a Facebook site, and Twitter. With some content worth following, at least for a while.
I didn't do the qualitative on this project. I just wish I had, because I think they have nailed it.
So there's some new disruption in the marketplace. It should make for some interesting times.
What do you think?