Talking ape replaces Billy Connolly in ING ad

Comedian Billy Connolly has been swapped for a talking orangutan called Charles as the spokesman for ING Direct.

The new campaign, created by Jack Watts Currie, begins today.

Christian Bohlke, ING Direct’s head of branding and communications, said: “Billy has been essential in building ING Direct to become a household brand, through Charles – who will be a customer of ING Direct – we will be able to get more specific about our offers and build on the full range of products and services we have to offer.”

During his association with the brand, Connolly was resistant to directly endorsing ING in the ads, preferring to make comical observations.

Jack Watts Currie MD Rob Currie  said: “in Charles we have a distinctive and consistent brand ambassador who certainly can’t be ignored. It’s brave work for a major financial brand and I applaud ING Direct for backing the new direction.”


  1. Sarah
    27 Sep 10
    4:24 pm

  2. What a bizarre ad! But all the same creative.

    A little bit off putting the naked part at the end! – that’s the only part I’ve remembered!

  3. Wild Man of Borneo
    27 Sep 10
    4:32 pm

  4. Blimey. Makes me want to start bulk-ordering palm oil from Borneo.

  5. Goose
    27 Sep 10
    4:37 pm

  6. The simian makes me feel uncomfortable.

  7. Rex
    27 Sep 10
    5:01 pm

  8. I like it – very refreshing. Endless possibilites too. Mr Darwin would also be impressed.

  9. Anonymous
    27 Sep 10
    5:11 pm

  10. Makes me wonder if the client said: Can we have one of these but in our brand colour?

    I still likes it tho. Nicely done

  11. Anonymous
    27 Sep 10
    5:15 pm

  12. Billy was good initially – putting the ING back into Fucking Great.

  13. seriocomic
    27 Sep 10
    5:17 pm

  14. My partner and I saw it last night and looked at each other with a ‘WTF!?’ expression on our faces. I did remember the brand this morning though – so, effective?

  15. Cover
    27 Sep 10
    5:20 pm

  16. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts? But in general a change in “face” of a brand – can either make a great impact or a poor one, lets hope it is the former of these.

  17. Dylan
    27 Sep 10
    5:47 pm

  18. Funny ad, sounds a little like they replaced Billy because he wouldn’t say what they wanted though and i think that was the strength of his endorsment to begin with, he has a bit of a reputation. I don’t think a pompous monkey will be as effective.

  19. Andrew
    27 Sep 10
    6:49 pm

  20. bankwest has a quirky talking horse et al so glad they thought different and went with an orangutan.

  21. Dan
    27 Sep 10
    7:00 pm

  22. He looks like Alf!

  23. Anonymous
    27 Sep 10
    8:23 pm

  24. Nice work. I like it and well done for taking a risk, doing something that stands out, and is on brand. Also creates a device for him to talk about lots of offers which Im sure he will. Really really good.

  25. Anonymous
    27 Sep 10
    9:51 pm

  26. Initially when I saw these, I definitely took notice bu had a bit of wtf factor going on.

    But when I saw them in a later ad break, I pissed myself laughing.

    I like it. Better than any other bank ad around these days.

  27. Tom
    28 Sep 10
    8:51 am

  28. Let me guess the brief (and it’s one we’ve all heard too often in recent times): “We want something that cuts through like the Cadbury’s gorilla”.
    So they got the ING orangutan.
    Kind of cheeky! Worth a shot.

    The other brief going around is “we don’t have much money so we want to do something viral like the Old Spice ad…” Doh!

  29. Anonymous vitriol
    28 Sep 10
    9:00 am

  30. Probably a more accurate headline would be “Orangutan replaces talking ape in ING ads”.

  31. Alison F
    28 Sep 10
    9:37 am

  32. When I first saw the ad I gave it the benefit of the doubt due to the shameless product placement of the Apple logo on the laptop… Then I realised it had nothing to do with Apple at all!
    Do we think Apple paid for that prominent placement or is it just confusingly bad art direction?

  33. macsmutterings
    28 Sep 10
    11:10 am

  34. Did this get researched I wonder? It might be salient, but not sure if it contributes well to the brands desired image, although not sure what image they are trying to build with this one….

  35. katea
    28 Sep 10
    11:27 am

  36. Billy would have got naked I’m sure!

    I would rather trust my money to boy from the docsk come millionaire than a friggin ape.

  37. Nate
    28 Sep 10
    12:50 pm

  38. Not connecting with this at all and I’m a brand advocate.

    “We will be able to get more specific about our offers and build on the full range of products and services we have to offer.”

    Hopefully you can, because the ad above doesn’t feature any specific products or services or even a basic call to action. Just something about being “fair”.

    “in Charles we have a distinctive and consistent brand ambassador who certainly can’t be ignored.”

    Swap the word Charles with Billy Connolly and you could have released this same piece of PR 9 years ago.

  39. Simon
    28 Sep 10
    5:14 pm

  40. Disturbed me so much I would now turn the TV off if it came on. Sure that’s not what ING want. I got a paedophile vibe from him…

  41. Charles Darwin
    28 Sep 10
    5:35 pm

  42. Spotted. Last night. OrINGutan Adverpithecus. Believed to be descended from slightly hairier and less intelligible Billius Connopithecus.

  43. dino
    29 Sep 10
    1:02 pm

  44. i prefer the bundy bear

  45. Rex
    29 Sep 10
    4:04 pm

  46. Bundy Bear has just been retrenched. Tell him to send me his CV.

  47. Ben
    30 Sep 10
    11:26 am

  48. @Alison F – Apple never pays for product placement.

    This is one strange campaign – definitely has cut-through but at the expense of being a bit confusing as the message isn’t clear besides introducing cognitive dissonance (WTF was that a bank ad?). It seems to have a multi product strategy in that they have bus shelter ads saying “I’m getting a lot of interest right now” so I guess it makes sense they will be loading up new messages into the same campaign.

  49. Charlie
    30 Sep 10
    1:48 pm

  50. I wouldn’t expect this creative to have the longevity of the Billy campaign.

    And as an eloquent, red-haired (or “ranga-ed”) young man, with a penchant for nudity and the Christian name “Charles”, Jack Watts Currie can expect my law suit for royalties to arrive shortly.

  51. Chelsea
    30 Sep 10
    3:56 pm

  52. One word: Terrible.

  53. Chelsea
    30 Sep 10
    3:56 pm

  54. One word: Terrible!

  55. blink5469
    30 Sep 10
    4:42 pm

  56. It gives me the creeps! Maybe Billy had done his dash, but this strange orange thing is not the answer.

  57. Anonymous
    1 Oct 10
    11:56 pm

  58. Creepy ad. Creeeeppy not funny

  59. Ex Kiwi
    2 Oct 10
    11:04 am

  60. Oh lighten up.

    At least there’s a bank actually doing something different rather than determined to be different.

    If you think this is creepy you should check your sexual preference. Maybe think about moving to New Zealand.

  61. Kenny
    4 Oct 10
    1:00 am

  62. Weird ad. Odd people discussing it. I was told the actor is the same guy in uwi insurance ads. Is that a linked company. Keep checking that orange hairy face and eyes look the same. Why would they pick that actor in such a big ad campaign to be the face of ing.

  63. Troy Thompson
    4 Oct 10
    10:37 am

  64. I thought it was Mike Myers on first viewing? Any idea who the actor is?

  65. ashley
    5 Oct 10
    7:26 pm

  66. No guys =_= that is Billy Conolly …
    Its a wierd ad…. And a little bit scary… If it was a relativly real looking ape with an animated mouth it would look heaps better…

  67. Ren
    6 Oct 10
    2:11 pm

  68. This ad gives me the creeps!

  69. Effenzeffer
    6 Oct 10
    8:25 pm

  70. I dunno Charles the Orangutan has grown on me since my first feeling of creepiness. My 12 yo son and I saw the first version when naked Charles provocatively closes his laptop with one finger tracing the edge, We looked at each other (the WTF moment), burst out laughing and couldn’t help closing our laptops this way since. He’s a bit weird, and seems like an English eccentric, but I think Aussies like these kind of characters. Won’t buy ING but Charles had me interested enough to google him.

  71. Anonymous
    9 Oct 10
    2:47 am

  72. Weird ad, makes no sense whatsoever.

  73. Fake Billy Conolly
    11 Oct 10
    1:15 pm

  74. It’s absolute shite!

  75. Real Billy Conolly
    14 Oct 10
    12:55 am

  76. I can get over the fact he’s funnier than me, but hairier?

    HOW. DARE. HE!

  77. Dinsdale Piranha
    15 Oct 10
    1:48 pm

  78. Whether it is clever or not is a moot point.

    The ad doesn’t tell me to park my reddies into ING Direct.
    Certainly not give it to some pompous primate with questionable sexual habits!

    Maybe these ad people have unconsciously used this campaign to highlight the plight that both orangutans and ING Direct are endangered species !!!

    Bring bank the Big Yin!!

  79. C Collins
    23 Oct 10
    8:59 am

  80. Great Ad.
    Interesting how the Orang-utan is called Charles and sounds like a certain Prince. Was this intentional?… I wonder!

  81. Michael
    25 Oct 10
    10:41 am

  82. Hmm…the mind boggles. So ING sees its customers as orangutans? I find it insulting. Why not use a Lion instead? I thought they have a lion in their logo, wait, maybe they’re changing the logo – replacing the lion with the orangutan.

    Did Apple Computer pay a royalty each time the ad is shown?

    The new ads have certainly become a talking point and working to raise awareness of the brand. There is an unwritten rule that consumers will remember the great ads or the really bad ones, especially when it has either a memorable jingle, catchphrase or character.

  83. Groucho
    25 Oct 10
    11:06 am

  84. Brilliantly targeted this campaign. Clearly the people without imagination, without a sense of fun, the boring , the negatives are not attracted to the brand by its advertising. The customers, the place and the brand will become moaner and groaner free attracting new, fresh and worthwhile customers, and keep the ones worth having.

  85. seriously?
    25 Oct 10
    10:26 pm

  86. dreadful- i saw the ad in the paper and thought, seriously- wtf? the orangatang looks plain wrong and made me feel a bit sick- then i read the text above which says the “customer is the orangatang” – seriously? you want to sell us a product by saying we are monkeys? some advertising ad exec is out of his tree and person who approved it at ing is off their rocker- get this sick shit off the tv!

  87. seriously?
    25 Oct 10
    10:31 pm

  88. you got rid of billy because he wouldn’t say “ing is the best and i personally love them and i recommend you bank with them” – and you bring in a monkey, so you can say what you want- and what do you have the monkey say? “im a naked monkey”. really. you get him to say “im a naked monkey”. jesus christ save us- someone needs to be let go for this one-

  89. niiiice
    26 Oct 10
    8:42 am

  90. Hmm, some people take their advertising a little too seriously?

    Have a life much?

    It’s funny and memorable, got my attention right at the time I’m thinking of switching banks.