Article content A commercial that compared RSPs to depression has been taken down after being called out by mental health professionals and consumers as being insensitive.
Article content ING Direct Canada's newest "Are You Suffering" ad features a depressed man sitting by himself on his couch. Soon viewers discover that his wife took care his "condition" by taking the man to ING.ca.
"Suffering from RSP?" ING takes down commercial after mental health backlash. Runescape Back to video
According to a statement released by Mark Nicholson, the head of digital and interactive at ING in Toronto the research revealed that RSP season brought feelings of stress, anxiety and confusion among their customers. The team wanted to show that they could assist.
Peter Coleridge, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) posted a comment on MarketingMag.ca The ads were described as "insensitive" and "disrespectful." Camille Quennville CEO of the CMHA's Ontario chapter, said that they were "offensive" that exacerbated "the stigma that keeps people from seeking help."
Article content Rand MacIvor took to the ING DIRECT Canada Facebook page to discuss his thoughts.
MacIvor wrote, "As a person living with chronic illness, I find the RSP advertisement personally offensive...There are people suffering and this ING advertisement is a mockery of them." "Did they test this? With sick people? Maybe they aren't ING's target market. Evidently, I'm not."
Soon after similar consumer comments starting pouring in, the Facebook page's mediators tried to get control of the matter.
"While we never intended to minimize any mental health-related health concerns, we have been listening to you. We have taken the decision to remove our RSP commercial from the air," they commented on posts that complained about the ad. It may take several more days for the commercial to go off-air, but it is now in motion. If you were offended by the commercial, we sincerely ask our apology.
The timing of the commercial was also criticized in conjunction with Bell Let's Talk Day 2013, bringing awareness to mental health and the stigma around it, taking place on Feb. 12.