Rocket Mortgage pulled off a surprising double Sunday night.
The mortgage company’s two 60-second Super Bowl ads placed first and second in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter, which ranks commercials by consumer rating with panelists scoring each ad on a 1-to-10 scale. Both spots starred comedian Tracy Morgan, who used humorous situations to illustrate the distinction between “pretty sure” and “certain.”.
It is the first time in 14 years that the same brand has secured the top two spots in the Ad Meter rankings. Budweiser last achieved the feat in 2007.
Amazon finished third Sunday night with its ad starring Michael B. Jordan as a seductive version of Alexa, while M&M’s humorous spot featuring Dan Levy was fourth. Toyota’s moving ad about Paralympic swimmer Jessica Long rounded out the top five.
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Rocket Mortgage appeared to pull away from the pack at least in part due to its coordinated outreach efforts on social media.
Morgan urged his 2.9 million followers on Twitter to sign up for Ad Meter and vote for the commercials, as did the Cleveland Cavaliers, NFL wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, golfer Rickie Fowler, the Los Angeles Chargers and actress Liza Koshy, among other influencers and official accounts. (Fitzgerald and Fowler have sponsorship agreements with Rocket Mortgage, while the Cavaliers are owned by Dan Gilbert, the co-founder of parent company Quicken Loans.).
The six aforementioned Twitter accounts alone have a combined 13.7 million followers.
“You love me? You love my @RocketMortgage #SBLV commercial? You better go vote,” Morgan wrote on Twitter on Sunday night, with a link to Ad Meter’s voting web site.
In just its fourth year of Super Bowl advertising, Rocket Mortgage decided to go big with two 60-second ads during Sunday’s game — a significant financial investment for any brand, given that CBS was charging roughly $5.5 million for a 30-second spot. (Rocket Mortgage reported about $6.6 billion in profits in the first three quarters of 2020.).
Rocket Mortgage chief executive officer Jay Farner said in a news release last week that the two ads come at a unique time for the company, as the COVID-19 pandemic “has brought new meaning and significance to the place where we live.”.
“With our 2021 Super Bowl spots, we are bringing awareness to the importance of home and demonstrating how we continue to enable more Americans to achieve the dream of homeownership — whether through our digital solutions, our skilled mortgage bankers or mortgage brokers in local communities across the country,” Farner said in a statement.
Morgan, of “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” fame, plays a central role in both of the company’s spots, showing prospective home-buyers why “pretty sure” isn’t good enough. At various points in the commercials, Morgan says he’s “pretty sure these hornets aren’t the murdering type” as he pokes a nest, and that he’s “pretty sure they come in peace,” as aliens blow up a car parked behind him.
The company’s winning spot, which aired in the second quarter, also featured actor and former wrestler Dave Bautista, while Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa made an appearance in the runner-up spot, which aired in the third.
Super Bowl advertisers faced a unique set of challenges this year in both production and messaging. The tumultuous events of 2020 served as a complicated backdrop for brands, leaving them to wonder whether their ads would strike the right tone. The COVID-19 pandemic also created practical obstacles in terms of filming, forcing some brands to limit crew sizes or move their sets outdoors.
The resulting commercial slate featured a wave of approaches — from hopeful to whimsical, and nostalgic to innovative. Some ads addressed the issues wrought by 2020 directly. Others completely ignored them.
Nearly 60% of commercials, meanwhile, featured an appearance by at least one celebrity or prominent athlete. And comedians such as Morgan were particularly popular. Comedians appeared in at least a dozen commercials between the coin toss and the conclusion of the game.
Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.