ING has your number

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No, I am not talking about unsolicited phone calls to your mobile. The New York Times reports of a new campaign in the US from ING, who claim to ‘know your number’ – referring to the amount of money you will need to retire comfortably. 

The ad is straightforward enough – a bunch of numbers being carried around by everyday blokes. The microsite is interesting – it has an interactive menu where you can figure out your number based on your current age and expectations at retirement.

 While this is in the US, even here in India the insurance companies are aggressively chasing the young adults to plan for retirement. Traditionally, insurance was sold primarily to the old and on fear. When you are talking to the young adults, the promise of a blissful retirement is an image that they would find hard to grasp and irrelevant for the current stage of life. The tendency among young adults is to postpone any retirement for a later stage. It’s a bit like vaccination. Only when trouble is on the horizon does the category’s relevance comes into play. Some brands have attempted to highlight that this is as important as chasing your career. Others have attempted to portray it as a responsibility that one owes to one’s family. 

 Amidst puffery like ‘Peace of mind. Guaranteed’, HDFC has successfully straddled its appeal to both the young and old with its ‘Sar utha ke jiyo’ campaign (not to be confused with Coke’s campaign of ‘Piyo Sir, uthake!’). They even have a Faebook application called ‘Test your responsibility quotient’ – interesting use of social media for a serious product. A recent campaign that has potential to appeal to the young adults is also from ING – the one where a bloke is ‘weighed in’ by the responsibilities he has. I also liked the baseline thought of Aviva – ‘kal par control’. In the NYT article Bill Haynes, the president of BackBay Communications, a financial services marketing and public relations firm in Boston, says, “messages that are informative, upbeat, and empower baby boomers to take the initiative, while offering guidance and support, are the most effective’. I would agree. Neither scare tactics nor shaming them would work with this set of consumers. I think painting a positive, confident but real picture of the future is the most effective option to talk to the young adults about insurance. To that extent, ING has got the number right.

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