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The weird case of the quirky mortgage ads that kickstart Biden Online

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The biggest advertiser on Facebook’s political advertising database in recent months isn’t President Biden, the Democratic or Republican parties, or even one of the hundreds of candidates fighting for an advantage in the 2022 midterm elections.

Instead, it’s an obscure mortgage company, Lower My Bills, best known in an earlier internet era for its ubiquitous – albeit eye-catching – banners featuring dogs in goggles, dancing cowboys, and weird green aliens who have little to do with it had interest.

Now the company is spending millions of dollars on ads with headlines like “Biden is on the rise” while tracking clicks that it can convert into new customers. Some of the advertisements show an animated image of Mr. Biden in a suit; others have the president in flip flops and Hawaiian shirt hula hooping on the beach.

The expenses are substantial. In the past 90 days, Lower My Bills has spent more than $ 10 million on Facebook advertising. that is more than double the sum of the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the House of Representatives and Senate of both parties combined over the same period.

“The shocking thing is the scale,” said Kenneth Pennington, a Democratic digital strategist. “The only reason you’re spending $ 11 million on Facebook is if you’re making at least $ 12 million.”

Understand the infrastructure law

    • A trillion dollar package went by. The Senate passed a comprehensive bipartisan infrastructure package on Aug. 10 that concludes weeks of intense negotiations and debates on the largest federal investment in the nation’s aging public construction system in more than a decade.
    • The final vote. The final balance in the Senate was 69 to 30 votes against. Legislation, yet to be passed by the House of Representatives, would touch almost every facet of the American economy and strengthen the nation’s response to planet warming.
    • Main areas of expenditure. Overall, the bipartisan plan focuses on spending on transportation, utilities, and removing pollution.
    • transport. About $ 110 billion would be used on roads, bridges, and other transportation projects; $ 25 billion for airports; and $ 66 billion for the railroad, making Amtrak the most funding since its inception in 1971.
    • Utilities. The Senators have also raised $ 65 billion to connect hard-to-reach rural communities to high-speed internet and attract low-income urban dwellers who can’t afford it, and $ 8 billion for western water infrastructure.
    • Cleaning up pollution: Approximately $ 21 billion would be used to rehabilitate abandoned wells and mines and Superfund sites.

Lower My Bills is part of Rocket Companies, a Detroit-based mortgage company whose brands include Quicken Loans. Lower My Bills attracts new customers and soaks up the contact information of people looking for discounted mortgages.

Not every Lower My Bills ad has touted Mr. Biden in the past few months, but a review of Facebook’s archive of recent ads shows the vast majority have done so – and in mostly glowing terms.

Updated

Aug. 12, 2021, 4:29 p.m. ET

“Biden supports middle-class homeowners,” read some ads. “Biden Trump’s Trump,” say others. Some of the news seems to be targeting skeptical Conservatives by appropriating a nickname from former President Donald J. Trump and declaring, “Sleepy Joe Wakes Up: Biden Approves Billions in Mortgage Financing for Struggling US Homeowners.”

Emmy Bengtson, a Democratic digital strategist, said the thrust of the ads “reflects the fact that even in the private industry, people are feeling really good about Biden right now.”

The White House declined to comment.

If the idea of ​​Mr. Biden as clickbait seems a bit surprising, Lower My Bills has always tried to tap into anything and everything – from current events to animated cowboys – to grab the attention of online users.

“Lower My Bills is a performance marketing company that uses advertising on Facebook and several other platforms to draw consumers’ attention to relevant, impactful events that can benefit their financial lives,” said Aaron Emerson, a spokesman for the company . “Recently, the company has been raising awareness of the American Rescue Plan, a timely and newsworthy development.”

Mr Emerson said the Biden-related advertisements were “not political advertisements,” noting that the company had run similar messages during previous administrations. “Our company doesn’t support politicians or parties,” he said.

After being contacted by the New York Times, Lower My Bills began running at least two new Trump-related ads on Facebook this week that read, “Miss Trump-Era Mortgage Guidelines? Experts predict that mortgage rates will be higher under Biden. “

According to its ad database, a number of Lower My Bills ads have been removed from Facebook for violating its advertising policies. A Facebook spokeswoman said the ads were falsely rejected.

Eric Ming, a Democratic digital strategist, said that “for companies not afraid of political polarization, it is smart to piggyback the White House messaging megaphone”.

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