In-game advertising and Obama

In-game advertising has become widely popular in the last few years. Companies have seen it as a great way to reach Gen-Y and Tween consumers. Still, it might come as a surprise to some that the latest to jump on the in-game bandwagon is none other than Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is going to go down in history for a number of reasons: Being elected as the first black president; being the first Democratic president since the 90’s; and being one of the first Democratic nominees to get predominantly Republican states to vote for him.

Barack Obama is also the first presidential nominee to utilize in-game advertising, and other various forms of social media. To strengthen his campaign and reach the younger generation, Obama used a number of unconventional advertising techniques. In early October, the first in-game advertisement for the campaign was seen on Burnout: Paradise, a popular XBox 360 racing game. The advertisement was filtered through XBox Live, the online system that comes with the popular Microsoft console.

Even though the advertisements were only accessible in 10 states, the advertisements were highly talked about via the worldwide web. Through blogs, video game websites, and advertising websites, the buzz quickly spread about Obama’s virtual billboards. The Obama campaign bought virtual advertising space in over 10 games after its success in Burnout, including the immensely popular Madden 2009. What started out as a small virtual advertisement erupted into a public relations phenomenon, thanks to word of mouth and the Internet.

Did video games help Obama win his campaign?  Due to so many advertising techniques being used, the real answer will probably never be known.  But, the in-game advertisements probably did help Obama conect to some of his younger fans.

Do you think video game advertising will start being used more commonly for political campaigns in the future?  I believe that with the video game industry’s exponential growth, it is definetly not out of the question.  Only time will tell.


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