"Here's what we were thinking," the voice-over begins, as a background score kicks in to provide some forward momentum. It's not quite Anthony Michael Hall's introduction to "The Breakfast Club" ("Dear Mr. Vernon: We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong...."). But it's intriguing to a surprisingly similar degree. If Quicken and Fallon's line of thought turns out to resemble a self-interested, not-exactly-rock-solid National Association of Realtors pitch -- homeownership inherently lifts the entire American economy! -- their vision is painted winningly.
That didn't stop critics from linking the theme to the subprime mortgage crisis not so many years earlier, posting on Twitter messages like, "Just a thought: Maybe we shouldn't make getting a mortgage so easy a child could do it."
Quicken therefore spent some of the game responding, pointing out that it is not a subprime lender. (For Super Bowl examples of that, see Ameriquest's quartet of ads in 2005 and 2006 that promised not to judge applicants too quickly ("Surprise Dinner," "Robbery," "Doctor," "Friendly Skies.")
Quicken Loans President and Chief Marketing Officer Jay Farner told Ad Age the ad was a success. Within the first minute after it aired, more than 14,000 people visited Quicken's website to learn more and chatted with over 100 bankers that answered questions, he said. "The win was driving folks to the site," Mr. Farner said.
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," he said. "We are giving people visibility and understanding of the mortgage they qualify for."
"What We Were Thinking" was released in its entirety on Jan. 27, 11 days before Super Bowl 50 and one day after another lender in the game, SoFi, released its "Great Loans for Great People." The third and final lender on the ad roster, SunTrust, waited until Feb. 2 to post "Hold Your Breath."Send credit info to [email protected].