ING Launches Orange Money Approach to Retirement Savings


ING U.S. came up with “the number” as a way for Americans to think about how much of a nest egg they would need to retire comfortably, and it turned out to be a very effective advertising icon for getting across the point: You need to have a tangible retirement goal to plan, save and invest effectively.

Now, ING U.S. is back with a new visual aid in a new TV advertising campaign, and it could turn out to be just as or even more effective: “orange” money. The orange color represents the well-known hue of the ING brand, but more important is that orange money stands for the stuff in your wallet, or savings, that you shouldn’t spend because it’s designated to put away for retirement. Only the “green” money is safe to spend.[more]

“This takes the messaging down a level,” Mark Kirby, head of brand marketing for ING U.S., told brandchannel. “Instead of a big number, it’s about how to act each day to get to that number.” 

So, for example, in one of the new TV ads, a man wants to buy an expensive new gas grill until he looks in his wallet and sees that he would have to impinge on his orange money, not just his green money, in order to make that purchase. So, he wisely steps down to a less-expensive grill. “This orange money is not for awesome grills; it’s for my awesome retirement.” In the last image in the ad, he looks pretty satisfied eating a hamburger.

Another ad features a couple discussing retirement finances and orange money, when the wife finds some orange cash in a jeans pocket. After she berates her husband to be more careful with their orange money, he turns the tables—the jeans belong to her.

Kirby said that ING segued to this messaging because it better fits the times. “After the financial crisis, and before that with the threat of terrorism, people were feeling out of control,” he said. “In consumers’ minds, organization”—as exemplified by the segregation of financial assets into “spendable” resources and those designated for savings—”can be seen as a proxy for control.”

ING U.S. is the brand’s insurance and investment arm. There’s also ING, which remains a Dutch financial-services, banking-oriented giant that sold its ING Direct USA banking arm to Capital One in 2011 as part of a restructuring agreement with the European Commission.

The “orange money” message could resonate at a time when many American boomers are woefully “behind” in saving for retirement, both because of their own inadequacies and because of how financial markets have treated them lately, until very recently. “One thing we’re always trying to get [across] is that people should make [retirement saving] more of a ‘today’ issue than something they can just put off,” Kirby said.

“Consumers look at it as a big, burdensome, highly complex and difficult thing,” Kirby explained. “But if you just prioritize, you can always do more and better about it. You can do that by making smarter choices every day. Consumers told us in research that they like this campaign because it depicts retirement savings not as all-or-nothing — that you can live your live fully as well as make good decisions every day about saving.”

In that way, ING U.S. is using the same sort of psychology of incrementalism that fitness advocates and some brands have been using to attempt to get Americans to exercise more: You don’t need to run a half-marathon to do your body good; every extra step you take every day, even if it’s going upstairs in an office building instead of taking the elevator, can help a little bit—and, in the end, significantly.