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Imagery earns your interest

Ads conveying financial products may be perceived as complex and lacking appeal. Does a financial company need to include a lot of information and what are the alternatives for an advertisement to raise affinity and to bring about action? LANCE CLATWORTHY benchmarks two recent ING DIRECT executions.

In this Creative Benchmarking study, we have tested advertisements for two different ING Direct savings accounts.

The verdict: two strong ads, but imagery and relevance shades a win over more detailed information

ING DIRECT 2.35% per annum


240246 ING 2_ pa with more detail

Advertising a 2.35% per annum Savings Accelerator account that is available on balances over $150,000, the key image is a table showing the interest earned on the ING account compared with that earned on similar accounts offered by each of the big four banks.

With a lead slogan of “Without question, it’s ING DIRECT”, the copy then says “How ongoing variable rates compare”. It then states the 2.35% per annum interest rate and the $150,000 qualifying balance. We then read the additional benefits of flexibility of access, no withdrawal penalties and no introductory rates as “you get a great ongoing variable rate”. Indeed, the text first mentions them before then going on to more fully explain them.

On the right hand side is a table displaying 6 key pieces of information for ING DIRECT and for each of the four big banks. ING appears as earning the highest interest on $150,000 invested for a year.

ING DIRECT branding is clear in the lead slogan and particularly in the bottom right hand corner, while the orange colouring provides some standout.

In terms of a call to action, the bottom left hand side directs the reader to ingdirect.com.au and also provides a 1800 number to call.

ING DIRECT 3% per annum

236133 ING 3_pa

Advertising the Savings Maximiser account, this ING DIRECT creative has an image of a lady pointing out across the ocean as she paddles in the water on a sunny day.

At the top left hand side, the lead text says “Don’t let the big banks hold you back”, but it’s the 3% per annum that features with the largest font. To the right, of the advertised rate, it states that the customer needs to be depositing $1,000 or more each month. The left hand side states the benefits of no honeymoon rate and flexibility that is free of penalties. This is achieved without repeat and in a more simplistic way than the Savings Accelerator ad.

ING DIRECT branding is clear in the bottom right hand corner, while the orange colouring provides some standout.

In terms of a call to action, the bottom left hand side directs the reader to ingdirect.com.au and also provides a 13 number to call.

Strategic RoleMap

Six strategic advertising roles of newspapers have been validated both qualitatively and quantitatively by NewsMediaWorks, resulting in the creation of RoleMap. 


Both ads performed especially well on brand affinity – ING 2.35% (25%) and ING 3% (31%) tripled the average newspaper ad score of 9% agreeing that the ad gives a good feeling about the brand.

The test ads performed very well on other Strategic role metrics too. ING 2.25% significantly outperformed the benchmark norms on giving more information (42%). The ad also performed directionally better on giving a reason to buy/use/find out more (24%), raising an important issue (21%) and encouraging to think differently about the brand (14%).

The ING 2.35% ad elicited some encouraging comments to support the performance on Strategic role metrics:-

  • “Any company that can beat the big four banks is a company that I would support”
  • “It makes me feel ING are financial experts”
  • “The ad was informative about the product on offer and gave some useful information”

In addition to brand affinity, with 21% agreeing the ad raises an important issue, the ING 3% ad again performed significantly better than the benchmark average of 10%. 17% also said that it encourages them to think differently about the brand; this is again significantly better than the benchmark of 8%.

The ING 3% ad yielded the following comments, for example:-

  • “Knowing that ING has good rates made me feel more positive about the brand”
  • “A good balance of information to visual imagery”
  • “I will do research to find out more about the ad”


Newspapers are recognised as an effective medium for delivering a Call to Action. ActionMap, another proprietary newspaper metric, expands on this strategic role to provide an understanding of the types of action a newspaper ad inspires. 


In terms of action metrics, both ads again performed very well on a number of measures compared with the benchmark average for all newspaper ads. Let’s now take a look at those metrics which performed significantly better than the benchmark.

We see similar performances for both ads, but ING 2.35% possibly edged it on the action metrics. 22% agreed they would go online for more information, 22% agreed they would try to remember the ad for later, 12% said they would tear out and keep the ad, 6% said they would email or share the information and 5% said they would call to find out more.

  • “It is a great ad that encourages the reader to find out more about the brand”
  • “A great deal of information provided, enough to make me open an account”

For the ING 3% ad, 23% agreed they would go online for more information, 17% said they would tear out and keep the ad, 6% said they would email or share the information and 8% said they would call to find out more.

  • “I think I will look into ING now, I hadn’t considered it before”
  • “This ad made me go to the ING site to find out more. I am always looking for higher interest rates”

Brand Perceptions


On all three metrics, both ads raised Brand perceptions significantly above the benchmark for all papers.

But the ING 3% ad set itself above the other ad on one of these key metrics. ING 3% improved made brand appropriate (55%) compared with a norm of 25%. ING 2.35% achieved 45% which is still a very strong score considering its lack of relevance for many aged 16+.

“The ad is for the wealthy who have $150,000 to invest.  What about those with a lot less to invest?” said one respondent who was shown the creative for ING 2.35%.

Looking at performance on other metrics, it also appears that the beach imagery has helped ING 3% make itself more appropriate than the other ad achieved with its table of comparative rates.

“It displays an image of a person on a beach which suggests the possibility of holidays with the banks assistance in savings accounts. This gives a positive outlook,” commented a respondent shown the ING 3% advertisement.


Creative Diagnostics

This NewsMediaWorks’ proprietary newspaper metric, provides a set of creative diagnostics unique to the attributes of newspaper advertising.  They’ve been developed to help identify areas for improvement where results across other brand and advertising measures may require further analysis and interrogation.


Looking at the creative diagnostics, we can see that the main metric where ING 2.35% outperformed its counterpart was for “It’s cluttered” (22%). In this respect, the ad was significantly worse than the norm (10%). Compared with a benchmark of 30%, only 20% agreed the ad has a great photo/image. Extra information has been provided at the expense of imagery that could have better caught the eye and even assisted the appearance of being relevant.

“Good information but a little cluttered to catch the eye,” said one respondent.

“Too much information although the percentage return is eye catching,” said another.

The ING 2.35% ad did perform strongly on highlighting an important feature (38%), but was otherwise similar to the benchmark averages.

If ING 3% can be deemed as the more successful of two strong creatives, then it is the imagery which has driven it. 32% agreed it had a great image. This only matched benchmark but was significantly better than the 20% achieved by the other ad. This ad then significantly outperformed benchmarks on highlighting an important feature (41%), looking good (31%) and making me want to stop and read more (30%).



ING 2.35% per annum

The ING 2.35% ad performed significantly above benchmark for all measures of brand perception, for brand affinity and for 5 out of the 8 action metrics; particularly in searching for more information. While providing information that some valued, communication may have been better served with imagery at the expense of detail.

ING 3% per annun

The ING 3% ad performed significantly above benchmark for all measures of brand perception, especially making the brand appropriate. It also outperformed on brand affinity and 4 out of 8 action metrics; particularly tearing out and keeping the ad. Creative diagnostics suggest that imagery attracts attention better than additional detail.


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