United Wholesale Mortgage enters the Super Bowl ad game as Quicken Loans ups the ante

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United Wholesale Mortgage invested in regional Super Bowl advertising for the first time and local competitor Quicken Loans added to its longstanding national marketing ties to the game.

Quicken is promoting its Rocket Mortgage platform with a national ad featuring actor Jason Momoa and related social media promotions during Super Bowl LIV, while UWM is marketing a website aimed at helping connect consumers with mortgage brokers through regional advertisements and social media.

UWM's commercial pokes fun at "playing with Rockets," calling it "complicated and expensive," and describes mortgage brokers as local, independent experts "dedicated to getting you a home loan faster and more affordably" than an online lender.

"The 'why' behind it is we do a lot of things to promote brokers and one [event] we know tens of millions of consumers are going to be watching, and engaged in, is the Super Bowl," Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of UWM, said in an interview. "It's not really about a rivalry with Quicken Loans. I could make the argument that it helps Quicken Loans. It's just, in general, that they market themselves a lot around Rocket Mortgage. We think it's a fun, playful way of addressing that. Rocket Mortgage is obviously the most well-known digital platform."

Quicken responded with a statement released by Aaron Emerson, senior vice president of communications, that said, "Mortgage brokers are an important resource for homebuyers who appreciate face-to-face service when applying for a loan. That is why we partner with more than 6,000 mortgage brokers serving their communities across the country.

"Regardless of how a consumer elects to work with our company — via phone, RocketMortgage.com or by utilizing a broker in their hometown — they will always have access to our ground-breaking Rocket Mortgage technology."

Whether a lender's online channel or the mortgage broker channel is better for a borrower depends on their goals and situation. While mortgage brokers can help borrowers shop for a loan from multiple lenders, the loans they can directly help a borrower obtain may be limited because some lenders do not have wholesale channels.

In addition to airing a Rocket Mortgage commercial during the Super Bowl, Quicken's QLMS loan channel hosted sweepstakes for its mortgage business partners that a loan officer and a processor at two different companies won. Quicken will be paying for their tickets to the game as well as hotel and airfare.

Earlier this month, Quicken also announced that it struck an exclusive multiyear deal in which it will be the "official mortgage partner" of the National Football League. The company also plans to give out Super Bowl square money through a separate multimillion-dollar sweepstakes for the public.

"We had well over one million people who entered online," said Hurbis. "When you're A's merica’s largest lender, you get on America’s largest stage," said Casey Hurbis, chief marketing officer at Quicken, in an interview.

Quicken has been the leading lender in the U.S. UWM has been the top wholesale lender.

A second Super Bowl commercial for UWM's corporate parent, United Shore also will air only in the Detroit area on television during the Super Bowl and promotes the company as an employer. United Shore plans to add 2,500-3,000 employees to support the growth of its wholesale channel this year. Quicken and other companies like Flagstar Bank compete for talent in the region.

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