Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

October 19, 2010

The ING orangutan doesn’t do it for me

Posted by : Michael Lund
Billy Connolly and ING

Billy Connolly and ING

ING Direct's decision to dump comedian Billy Connolly for an orangutan in its new marketing campaign is a puzzle.

Connolly is instantly recognisable. He's world famous, he's very funny, he also admits to being well off and is Scottish so comes from a nation with a reputation for looking after the money.

A perfect ambassador then you would think for a financial institution.

So why replace him with an orangutan? It's not even a real orangutan, it's someone in an orangutan costume.

It's also called Charles.

ING Direct orangutan


Charles has been the ING figure head now for almost a month and his image has been cropping up in print, online and on TV.

ING Direct issued a statement (27 September 2010) in which the head of Branding and Communications, Christian Bohlke said: “Charles’ role will be to show Australians there is a better way to bank. He is an independent thinker who doesn’t want to deal with the practices of the mainstream banks.”

Excuse me? He's an orangutan. A fake orangutan and to be perfectly honest and he gives me the creeps.

Bring back the Big Yin, please.

I confess I do have an ING Direct account and I'd far rather trust the banking organisation if Billy was its media figurehead and not some stupid costume creature.

I like orangutans. I feel sorry for them and feel angry at the destruction of their natural habitat for things such as palm oil, as told by The Australian Orangutan Project.

But orangatuns offering banking advice just doesn't do it for me.

Maybe I'm not alone. The marketing team behind Charles have also tried to play the social networking line.

Charles is on Facebook and Twitter too.

ING's Charles on Twitter

ING's Charles on Twitter

Such insights. And how many followers? As of today just 89.

It's no better at Facebook with just 754 people liking the Charles Page.

ING's Charles on Facebook

ING's Charles on Facebook

Again, such insights.

A comment from ING's Charles on Facebook

A comment from ING's Charles on Facebook

If this is the best ING Direct can offer then spare us.

Surely there has to be more substance to an advertising campaign from what it calls itself as Australian's fifth largest retail bank.

4 Comments so far ...

1. Insider

You're not the only one.

Comment on October 20, 2010 04:37 pm
2. Orangugirl

I love orangutans but this Charles creature gives me the willies! It looks creepy and odd and does not belong as the face of ING Direct. What were they thinking? I think ING Direct management need to take a long hard look at their marketing team as they obviously have no idea.

Comment on October 22, 2010 11:52 pm
3. Marcwolf

I used to enjoy the ING adverts. Billy is instantly recognisable and known as an intellegent quick wit.

Charles on the other hand (no offence to gay folks cause I am one) seems like an effeminate interior decorator ready to transform one's comfortable home into some sort of fashion statement.

Besides - I'd take financial advice from a canny Soctsman anytime over that of a monkey.
Bring Back Billy!!!

Comment on March 5, 2011 10:24 am
4. Jeanette McK

Love Charles - fabulous marketing idea. I was SO over Billy Connelly the change has been great. Fact is, I'm not likely to take marketing advice from either a comedian nor an orangutan - so at least entertain me - which Charles does. The sly innuendo is hilarious whereas Billy tended to come over as a train wreck trying to walk a straight line.

Comment on June 7, 2011 03:42 pm
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Just so you know…

All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.