SBD/November 14, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

ING's Decision To Drop Title Sponsorships Of Marathons Seen As Perplexing To Organizers

ING will change its name to Voya Financial, and won't be sponsoring races
Retirement services company ING U.S.' decision to drop its title sponsorship marathons in N.Y., Miami and Hartford was "something of a head-scratcher," but whether it also is a "dumb marketing move is a more complicated question," according to Dan Haar of the HARTFORD COURANT. The company's name will change to Voya Financial starting in '14 after it spun off from Holland-based parent company ING Group in May. The sponsorships "brought the company wide recognition," so this could be a "lost opportunity." Miami Marathon co-Founder Frankie Ruiz said, "It's still mind-boggling to me that they walked away from the scene. They were entrenched. ... We had a beautiful marriage for eight years." Haar noted with "tens of millions of eyeballs on those distinctive, bright orange banners, it seems like ING could have extended the sponsorships by one more year at least, if only to get the Voya name out there." Neither the company nor the marathon organizers "would say how much ING plunked down for the race names, but Hartford is believed to be in the low hundreds of thousands of dollars per year; Miami is in the mid-six-figure range; and New York would be well over a million dollars." It is "possible that ING U.S. wants to distance itself from ING Group as it becomes Voya Financial." ING Group, "after all, spun off the U.S. business as a condition of a bailout in Europe." However ING U.S. Head of Strategic Communications Phil Margolis "rejected that concern" (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/13).
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