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The Curious Case of Quirky Mortgage Ads Boosting Biden Online

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The biggest advertiser in Facebook’s political ad database in recent months isn’t President Biden, the Democratic or Republican parties, or even one of the hundreds of candidates seeking the mid-term advantage of 2022. .

Instead, it’s an obscure mortgage-related company, Lower My Bills, which in an earlier internet age was best known for its ubiquitous – albeit ostentatious – banner ads featuring dogs at glasses, dancing cowboys and weird green aliens that had nothing to do with interest rates.

Today, the company spends millions of dollars on ads with headlines like “Biden is on a roll” as it chases clicks it can convert into new customers. Some of the ads feature a lively likeness of Mr. Biden in costume; others have the chair in flip flops and a Hawaiian shirt while hula hooping on the beach.

The expenses are significant. In the past 90 days, Lower My Bills has spent over $ 10 million on Facebook ads; that’s more than double the sum of the Republican National Committee, the Democratic National Committee, and the House and Senate arms of the two parties united in the same period.

“What’s shocking about it is the scale,” said Kenneth Pennington, a Democratic digital strategist. “The only reason you spend $ 11 million on Facebook is if you make at least $ 12 million.”

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 sucks up contact information for people looking for reduced mortgages.

Not all of the Lower My Bills ads have praised Mr. Biden in recent months, but a review of Facebook’s recent ad archive shows that a large majority have – and in mostly glowing terms.

“Biden supports middle class homeowners,” read some ads. “Biden wins over Trump,” others say. Some of the posts appear to target skeptical conservatives, appropriating a nickname used by former President Donald J. Trump and declaring: “Sleepy Joe Wakes Up: Biden Approves Billions in Mortgage Aid for Distressed US Homeowners.”

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

The White House declined to comment.

While the idea of ​​Mr. Biden as the click bait sounds a bit surprising, Lower My Bills has a habit of trying to tap into anything and everything – from current events to spirited cowboys – to lure it in. attention of online users.

“Lower My Bills is a performance marketing company that uses advertising on Facebook and several other platforms to alert consumers to relevant and impactful events that can benefit their financial lives,” said Aaron Emerson, spokesperson for the society. “Recently, the company raised awareness of the ‘American bailout’, a current and newsworthy development.”

Mr Emerson said the Biden-related ads were “not political ads” and noted that the company had broadcast similar messages during previous administrations. “Our company does not support any politician or party,” he said.

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

A number of Lower My Bills ads have been removed by Facebook for violating its advertising policies, according to its ad database. A Facebook spokesperson said the ads were wrongly rejected.

Eric Ming, a Democratic digital strategist, said that “for businesses that aren’t afraid of political polarization, it’s smart to piggyback” on the White House messaging megaphone.