Don't Underestimate the Power of Offline Marketing

we_the_savers_bubblesA few weeks ago we published a post on Staples’ “Gift It For Free” Sweepstakes, a contest that promises 10,000 winners.

We discovered the campaign while standing in front of our building in Manhattan as a school bus drove by with only the sweepstakes’ Web address – – scrawled across the windows. Such enigmatic advertising was enough to pique our interest, eventually driving us to check out the site. The rest is history: we loved it so much that we immortalized it on our blog.

Something similar happened a few days ago while we were in a Grand Central subway tunnel, where we noticed a blanket of advertisements, the subject of which was a Web site called Each ad contained some sort of tag line and a logo (an orange sphere; simple and unrecognizable to the untrained eye) in the lower right-hand corner, but it was clear that whoever was behind these ads wanted people to visit the site.

It worked; we visited the site as soon as we sat down at our computers.

You probably know by now that is a viral campaign from ING Direct to promote its new Declaration of Financial Independence initiative. Like Staples’ “Gift It For Free,” “We, The Savers” integrates Facebook, YouTube and a host of other interactive activities, including the “declaration” itself, which people can sign. More than 12,000 already have.

While “We, The Savers” isn’t funny like Staple’s “Gift It For Free” – credit for that goes solely to the campaign’s spokesperson, Coach Tom – ING’s use of traditional advertising is pure testament to how offline marketing can drive traffic online. By creating ads that encourage engagement – in this case, directing people to a Web site by using only the Web address and branding the ad ever so slightly (obviously to not deter people who have an established opinion of the brand), ING is getting more traffic then they would have had if the campaign’s marketing efforts remained strictly online.

Just somethin’ to chew on.

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