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Actress Isla Fisher fronts ING Direct campaign as brand looks to become a ‘primary bank’

Australian actress Isla Fisher is spearheading a multimillion dollar campaign for ING Direct as it looks to shift perceptions of the brand and position itself as a “main bank”.

Executive director, customer, John Arnott, said the “screen led” drive, which includes social, digital, TV and cinema, signals the beginning of a new marketing strategy for the company.

The campaign is the first major work for the brand by VCCP who won the creative account in December.

Arnott said ING Direct, who will plough $10m into the campaign over the next six months, has been too silent for too long in promoting its range of services.

“Our customers are talking about us but we have not been amplifying it through our marketing communications,” he admitted. “That is changing. We deliver the customer experience and, in line with our strategy to be a main bank, we need to back that up in our communications.”

The social element of the campaign kicked off late last week with a 15 and 30-second video starring new ING Direct brand ambassador Isla Fisher. In the spot, Fisher refers to ING Direct as ‘ing’ – a regular misnomer – before inviting people to visit islaforingdirect.com.au to comment on their experiences.

TV will kick off on June 14 with several other executions to be rolled out during the year.

Arnott said a screen-led approach was chosen as it enables the company to deliver a “more emotive message”.

The campaign will highlight the benefits of banking with ING Direct, with Fisher learning about the bank during the course of the campaign in a strategy to educate the wider public of its services.

Consumer stories will become central to the brand campaign into early 2016, Arnott said.

“Isla is going on a journey to understand who we are, what we stand for and what is so good about us,” he said. “She becomes a customer and a brand ambassador.

“We are trying to grow awareness of us being a primary bank. We are well known as a savings institution but we are so much more than that. We offer superannuation, mortgages and every day banking and this campaign will demonstrate that.”

Arnott said it will also look to break down barriers which sometimes work against the bank, such as its lack of physical branches.

“We don’t have physical locations but we have a wonderful call centre which Isla will talk about and show that you don’t need branches,” he said.

“The campaign will also show our breadth of products. It is very important for people when they switch banks to know there is a range of products.”

Arnott said Fisher brings “irreverence and fun” to the role and has an “authenticity” that IND Direct was looking for.

It is not the first time the brand has turned to a celebrity to endorse the brand. Comedian Billy Connolly fronted a wider ING group campaign in the mid 2000s before turning to Charles the Orangutan in 2010.

Arnott hinted that Charles may re-appear in the forthcoming campaign.

He told Mumbrella that Fisher was an ideal fit for the brand and said celebrity endorsement, if done right, can achieve “cut through in an environment and relatively cluttered”.

“We were looking for someone who was well known but who was authentic and genuine and who wasn’t going to be bigger than the brand,” he said. “Isla was perfect. She has an irreverence about her which goes back to our heritage brand values. We want to put fun into the campaign.”

Questioned on whether personality-endorsed brands still resonate with consumers, Arnott said: “It was important we had someone who would appeal to our core target group and who hadn’t worked extensively in the advertising industry before and had a fresh perspective.

“It’s true to say that some [personalities] are seen as being in it for the money rather than the cause.”

Steve Jones

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