The single biggest advertiser in Facebook’s political advertising database in recent months is not President Biden, the Democratic or Republican parties or even any of the hundreds of candidates angling for advantage in the 2022 midterms.
Instead, it is an obscure mortgage-related firm, Lower My Bills, which in an earlier internet era was best known for its omnipresent — if ostentatious — banner ads featuring dogs in goggles, dancing cowboys and strange green aliens that had little to do with interest rates.
Now, the firm is spending millions of dollars on ads featuring headlines like “Biden is on a roll” as it pursues clicks it can convert into new customers. Some of the ads feature an animated likeness of Mr. Biden in a suit; others have the president in flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt while hula hooping on the beach.
The spending is significant. Over the past 90 days, Lower My Bills has spent more than $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 combined during the same period.
“The shocking thing about it is the scale,” said Kenneth Pennington, a Democratic digital strategist. “The only reason you spend $11 million on Facebook is if you’re making at least $12 million.”
Lower My Bills is a part of Rocket Companies, a Detroit-based mortgage company whose brands include Quicken Loans. Lower My Bills pulls in new customers and vacuums up the contact information of people seeking reduced mortgages.
Not every ad from Lower My Bills touted Mr. Biden in recent months, but a review of Facebook’s archive of recent ads shows that a vast majority have done so — and in mostly glowing terms.
July 15, 2021, 9:01 a.m. ET
“Biden Backs Middle-class Homeowners,” read some ads. “Biden Trumps Trump,” others say. Some of the messaging appears 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 Financial Assistance for Struggling U.S. Homeowners.”
Emmy Bengtson, a Democratic digital strategist, said the thrust of the ads “reflects the fact that even in private industry people feel really good about Biden right now.”
The White House declined to comment.
If the idea of Mr. Biden as clickbait seems like a bit of a surprise, Lower My Bills has a history of trying 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 alert consumers of 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 current and newsworthy development.”
Mr. Emerson said that the Biden-related ads were “not political ads” and noted that the firm had run similar messages during past administrations. “Our company does not endorse any 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 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 advertisements have been taken down by Facebook for violating its advertising policies, according to its ads database. A spokeswoman for Facebook said the ads had been incorrectly rejected.
Eric Ming, a Democratic digital strategist, said that “for companies not afraid of political polarization, it is smart to piggyback” off the messaging megaphone of the White House.