Super Bowl 50 will include a commercial from Quicken Loans, and, like everyone who takes the field this Sunday, February 7, the company is going big or going home with a 60-second spot that claims it has the way to save the American economy. According to AdAge, the commercial promotes Quicken Loans' new online mortgage service; the company says their "Push Button, Get Mortgage" campaign will lead to more people buying homes, which will lead to more U.S. jobs. This is all fine and good, but, after watching the commercial for their new Rocket Mortgage, you may be stuck on the soothing voice-over that asks, "What if we did for mortgages what the Internet did for buying music, plane tickets and shoes?" This voice may sound familiar to anyone who's heard the Serial podcast. You may even end up asking yourself, "Is that Sarah Koenig's voice in the Quicken Loans Super Bowl commercial?"
Well, as it turns out, no, it's not Sarah Koenig. It's just a soundalike. A really good soundalike, who according to a Quicken Loans Public Relation Manager, isn't even a voice actor but was on the production team working on the commercial. But can you really blame them for using a voice that sounds like Koenig? I mean, they clearly wanted to find a voice that America would find trustworthy and engaging, and who better than the woman who had the most "popular podcast in the history of the form," according to The New York Times? The first season of Serial, which looked at the 1999 murder of a Baltimore high schooler that resulted in the conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed, averaged over 1.5 million listeners an episode. Clearly, her voice spoke to a lot of people.
At this point, most commercials, including Super Bowl commercials, feature a familiar celeb voice like that of Jon Hamm (Mercedes-Benz), Aaron Paul (Weight Watchers), John Krasinski (Esurance) and Julia Roberts (Nationwide) to sell their products. That may be one of the reasons you're drawn to these items. "Breaking through is incredibly hard," an ad exec told Fast Company about why companies use celebrity voices in commercials. "And this is one proven time-tested way of getting that breakthrough and having the person look up from one of their three devices that they have simultaneously going and listening."
Thus, it's no wonder that people might have watched this commercial and automatically assumed that the similar sounding voice therein belonged to Koenig. However, besides the fact that Koenig is way too busy reporting the second season of Serial — so busy that she's made the podcast bi-weekly — she's only lent her voice to one other non-radio thing: an episode of the Netflix animated series, BoJack Horseman, where she played herself. It seems that you'll just have to keep listening to Serial to hear Koenig's voice.