With Mitt Romney showing a solid lead through the Republican primary elections, another clear Republican winner appears to have emerged—this time for reverse mortgage advertising.
American Advisors Group spokesman Fred Thompson, the former Republican senator who, in 2008, made a run for the Republican candidacy, has appeared throughout the political coverage in reverse mortgage ads for the company. The placement of those ads in proximity to the primaries has proven a fruitful strategy for AAG, its executives say.
“It has been hugely successful,” says AAG’s marketing director, Teague McGrath. “Clearly, there’s a republican connection and a candidate connection.” The ad placement, throughout the republican campaigning and coverage, has been intentional and well timed, he says.
Following Thompson’s run for the Republican candidacy in 2008, his appearance in this election year has bloggers, Twitter users and other reports noting the coincidence in Fred’s Republican roots and his appearance on TV as a reverse mortgage spokesman.
The Atlantic reported following the New Hampshire debate this week: “And that’s the end of the debate. Shots so not fired. Hilariously, the commercial break features former presidential candidate Fred Thompson—who was supposed to destroy the other Republicans in 2008 with his southern accent and actor’s ability to play to the camera—talking about “reverse mortgages.”
“He did better [than the others] in the debate, even though he wasn’t there,” McGrath says. “Fred has found it very funny.”
In what would ordinarily be a very challenging advertising climate with Republican candidates buying up all of the media space their campaign funds will allow, the success of AAG’s campaign has allowed it to compete with the desirable advertising spots throughout the primaries.
“This year would normally be a very difficult year for us,” McGrath says.
Instead, the company has generated hundreds of leads from the campaign. Generally, the leads tend to skew Republican, AAG has found, they’re more conservative and have higher home values than the average.
Thomson will continue to appear in AAG ads throughout the primaries, juxtaposed with a race he was part of just four years ago. Some viewers were even fooled.
“In fact, some people actually thought he was running,” McGrath says, based on the calls AAG received following the ads. “They thought he was announcing his candidacy.”
If this year’s campaign resembles that of 2008, is the industry likely to see another Republican spokesman joining the ranks? Is Ron Paul next?
Written by Elizabeth Ecker