Super Bowl

How Quicken Loans Is Responding to Backlash Over Super Bowl Ad

Company Says Commercial Drove Thousands of Visits to Its Site

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Quicken Loans spent most of Super Bowl 50 on its Twitter page responding to backlash from its first big game commercial, with people making a connection between the ad and the sub-prime mortgages that spurred the financial crisis of 2008.

The mortgage lender aired a spot in the first-half of the game promoting its new Rocket Loans, a completely online mortgage service. In the 60-second spot, Quicken Loans discusses how if more people were able to buy homes easily, it would mean more people buying items to fill that home, and in turn, more jobs for those craftsmen making the items. The craftsmen, the thinking goes, could then buy their own homes, creating a perfect cycle of consumption.

It was a nice sentiment, but the social response was surely not the one Quicken Loans expected.

Quicken Loans attempted to quell fears -- and comparisons to those problematic sub-prime mortgages -- by assuring people on its Twitter page that its mortgage practice follows all government guidelines.

But despite the negative comments, Quicken Loans President and Chief Marketing Officer Jay Farner said overall the Super Bowl campaign was a success.

Within the first minute after the spot aired, more than 14,000 people visited Quicken Loan's website to learn more and chatted with over 100 bankers that answered questions.

"The win was driving folks to the site," Mr. Farner said, noting that it was a much smaller percentage of people voicing concerns on social media compared to the people who were coming online to learn more.

Quicken Loans had about five people on their social media team responding to concerns. Mr. Farner said the company has the lowest default rate of any lender because it has rigorous underwriting requirements.

"We agree with those comments that there needs to be transparency and that's the exact thing we are trying to do; we are giving people visibility and understanding of the mortgage they qualify for," he said.