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Summary:

This is either a brilliant Photoshop job, some canny viral political campaigning, or both: An Xbox 360 gamer playing Burnout Paradise spotted an Obama campaign billboard with a “Paid for by Obama for President” caption as he whizzed by in his turbocharged sports car, Game Politics […]

This is either a brilliant Photoshop job, some canny viral political campaigning, or both: An Xbox 360 gamer playing Burnout Paradise spotted an Obama campaign billboard with a “Paid for by Obama for President” caption as he whizzed by in his turbocharged sports car, Game Politics is reporting. The site was unable to confirm the ad’s authenticity with Burnout publisher Electronic Arts; I’ve left messages with both EA and the Obama campaign and will update this post if we get confirmation either way.

Its veracity aside, the virtual billboard raises an interesting question: Are political ads in video games a good idea? In terms of eyeballs, I’d have to say yes. Roughly one-third of American households own an Xbox 360, Sony PS3 or Nintendo Wii. In terms of effectiveness, Brandweek recently detailed a survey undertaken by its fellow Nielsen Games division in which 11 percent of gamers said they bought a brand after seeing it advertised in a game.

Of course, buying a brand of shoes or soda is a totally different prospect than buying a politician’s brand in the polling booth. And young voters — the kind most likely to notice an in-game ad — are also the least likely to show up on Election Day.

At the very least, however, several gamer sites are now excitedly talking about the Obama billboard, which translates into some level of viral messaging success. It’s certainly a better idea than John McCain’s Pork Invaders, a knock-off of a video game that was popular when Sen. McCain was already in his 40s.

Hat tip: Broken Toys.

  1. As you say is a nice way to caught peoples atention.but we dont know if is going to have a good result..we´ll just have to wait then

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  2. @James,

    Great idea as the vote and voice of someone 18 years or more (18 to 22 year old college students) is just as important as my parents(67 & 71 years). Kudos to Barack Obama for his political shrewdness.

    Have a great weekend,

    Curtis

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  3. LoL. Thats a good one. Just fast tweeted here

    http://fast.livecrunch.com/2008/10/11/have-you-ever-in-past-20-30-years-play-a/

    Thank you for this message!

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  4. I just hope in three years, we don’t hear: “I have no knowledge who paid for this particular advertisement…..”

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  5. really depends on the demographics of the games and the relevant associations – you think political ads belong in GTA type games? in front of 12 year olds?

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  6. [...] job, some canny viral political campaigning, or both: An Xbox 360 gamer playing Burnout Paradise spotted an Obama campaign billboard with a “Paid for by Obama for President” caption as he whizzed by in his turbocharged sports [...]

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  7. If true, its quite clever. Everybody thinks gamers are pimply-faced 12 year olds with goth haircuts, but many of them are in their 20s and 30’s.

    I think McCain ads wouldn’t be advised for video games since 70 year old people don’t even know what an xbox 360 is.

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  8. [...] is just crafty Photoshop work or a real attempt to reach youngsters. Either way, as GigaOM’s Wagner James Au writes, the news raises an interesting question: Are in-game political ads a good [...]

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  9. [...] Ads in Video Games Amazing. GigaOM has the story: Last week we noted unconfirmed sightings of an “Obama for President” billboard in the Xbox 360 racing [...]

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  10. [...] James Au, Monday, October 13, 2008 at 1:41 PM PT Comments (22) Last week we noted unconfirmed sightings of an “Obama for President” billboard in the Xbox 360 racing game [...]

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