The single largest advertiser in Facebook’s political advertising database in recent months isn’t President Biden, the Democratic or Republican Party, or even any of the hundreds of candidates looking to gain an edge in the mid-term of 2022.
Instead, it’s a little-known mortgage-related firm, Lower My Bills, which in the early Internet era was best known for its ubiquity – albeit ostentatious – advertising banners featuring glasses wearing dogs, dancing cowboys and strange green aliens it had nothing to do with interest rates.
The company now spends millions of dollars on ads with headlines like “Biden is on fire” as it chases clicks that can convert into new customers. Some advertisements feature an animated image of Mr. Biden in a suit; others have the president in flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt during a hula hoop on the beach.
The costs are significant. Lower My Bills has spent over $ 10 million on Facebook ads in the past 90 days; this is more than double that of the Republican National Committee, Democratic National Committee, House of Representatives and Senate of both parties combined over the same period.
“The most shocking thing is the scale,” said Kenneth Pennington, a digital strategist for the Democratic Party. “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. Dropping my bills brings in new clients and takes away the contact information of people looking for a downgraded mortgage.
Not every ad from Lower My Bills has advertised Mr. Biden in recent months, but a review of Facebook’s archive of recent advertisements shows that the vast majority have done so – and mostly in flamboyant terms.
“Biden supports middle-class homeowners,” advertisements say. “Biden Trump Trump,” others say. Some messages seem to target skeptical conservatives by adopting the nickname of former President Donald Trump and stating, “Sleepy Joe wakes up: Biden approves billion dollar bailout mortgage bailouts to fight homeowners in the United States.”
Emmy Bengtson, a digital strategist for the Democratic Party, said the ad focus “reflects the fact that even in the private industry, people are really good about Biden now.”
The White House declined to comment.
If Mr. Biden’s idea as a clickbait sounds a little unexpected, Lower My Bills has a history of trying to use anything and everything – from current events to animated cowboys – to grab the attention of online users.
Lower My Bills is a marketing company that uses ads on Facebook and several other platforms to alert consumers to important events that can benefit their financial lives, ”said Aaron Emerson, a company spokesman. “The company has recently been raising awareness of the American Rescue Plan, a current and noteworthy development.”
Mr Emerson said Biden’s ad “is not a political ad,” and noted that the firm has made similar messages during past administrations. “Our company does not support any politicians or parties,” he said.
After being contacted by The New York Times, Lower My Bills this week began posting on Facebook at least two new Trump-related commercials that read: “Miss Trump Era Mortgage Policy? Experts predict that mortgage rates will be higher under Biden. “
According to its advertising database, Facebook has blocked a number of advertisements to reduce my bills for violating its advertising policy. A Facebook spokesperson said the ad was disapproved incorrectly.
Eric Ming, a digital strategist for the Democratic Party, said that “it would be wise for companies not afraid of political polarization to use” a megaphone for messaging in the White House.