It’s tax season in Canada—or as it’s called up there, RSP season.
For some, it’s a huge bummer. The Canadian arm of ING Direct sought to capitalize on that notion with a Canadian TV commercial.
The commercial, developed by Toronto agency St. John, depicted a man suffering from depression-like symptoms, along with sleeplessness and anxiety.
“Turns out,” the narrator says, “it was RSP.”
“One TV spot launching Monday opens on a man glumly sitting in a chair outside and proceeds to show images of him lying motionless on the couch, or standing beside unused fitness equipment. The spot then informs viewers that his wife noted his condition and had him at ING.ca ‘first thing.’”
ING Direct Canada, which is owned by The Bank of Nova Scotia, is a branchless banking institution.
Some people didn’t like that the commercial made light of mental illness, and took to social media to voice their displeasure, according to the website Macleans.ca
ING heard them “loud and clear,” according to a statement from the company:
“We’d like to thank all of our Clients and followers for their feedback. While it was never our intention to make light of any health concerns related to mental illness, we have heard you loud and clear. We have decided to remove our RSP commercial from TV. It may take a few days for it to come off air, but the process is in motion. Please accept our apologies if you were offended by our commercial.”
The response seems to have mollified many, including blogger Eileen Fisher
: “I don’t like what ING Direct did, but I do like how they handled it.”
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said ING Direct Canada was owned by The Netherlands based ING Direct. The Bank of Nova Scotia completed its acquisition of ING Direct Canada in November 2012.