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Summary:

Yes, the “Obama for President” billboard in the Xbox 360 racing game Burnout Paradise is in fact an official advertisement placed by the senator’s campaign team.

Last week we noted unconfirmed sightings of an “Obama for President” billboard in the Xbox 360 racing game Burnout Paradise. Today we’re able to report that it is, in fact, an official advertisement placed by the senator’s campaign team.

“I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout,” Holly Rockwood, director of corporate communications at Electronic Arts, the game’s publisher, told me via email, noting that EA regularly allows ad placements in their online games. “Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political candidates,” she continued. “Like political spots on the television networks, these ads do not reflect the political policies of EA or the opinions of its development teams.”

To my knowledge, this Burnout ad is far and away the most prominent use of a major online game to promote a presidential candidate’s campaign. There have been near-misses, of course: In 2006, for example, when he was seriously considering a run for the Democratic nomination, ex-Virginia Gov. Mark Warner made an avatar-based appearance at a press conference in Second Life.

Of course, detractors could accuse Sen. Obama of sending out mixed messages; earlier this year he was telling audiences that parents need to “turn off the television set, and put the video games away.” Then again, since the Burnout billboard specifically advises gamers to vote early, maybe it’s his subtle way of trying to get them off the couch.

Image credit: 360 gamer “Jeffson”, from his Rooster Teeth journal.

  1. Despite what some may say – you have to admit Obama has been running a pretty impressive campaign. It’s been progressive – in your face, and uses unconventional means to get the word out.

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  2. [...] October 13, 2008 by Yosuan by Blake Ellison Hot on the heels of the news that the games industry likes presidential candidate Barack Obama comes confirmation that the feeling’s mutual: Obama is running in-game ads in Criterion’s Burnout Paradise.”I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout,” said publisher EA’s corporate communications director Holly Rockwood to GigaOM. [...]

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  3. [...] advertising in Burnout,” said publisher EA’s corporate communications director Holly Rockwood to GigaOM. “Like most television, radio and print outlets, we accept advertising from credible political [...]

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  4. [...] He really is courting the youth vote.  GigaOM has the details. [...]

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  5. [...] GigaOm) If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter. Thanks [...]

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  6. [...] Here’s the link, and thanks to my fellow Final Fantasy Digg.com friend for sending the link to… [...]

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  7. [...] this article in GigaOM, Obama Is campaigning within games: ‘Last week we noted unconfirmed sightings of an “Obama for President” billboard in the [...]

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  8. Nick, I’m no spring chicken (in fact, I’m getting pretty long in the beak these days) but Obama has easily run the most flawless presidential campaign in my lifetime, which covers 9 elected presidents so far.

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  9. [...] have made me leery of writing about it. But now, Wagner James Au over GigaOm has confirmed the campaign is attempting to reach out to gamers: “I can confirm that the Obama campaign has paid for in-game advertising in Burnout,” Holly [...]

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  10. [...] Bar­ac­k O­bama is adver­tisin­g in­ video­games n­o­w­, r­eac­h­in­g o­u­t to­ th­e gamer­ demo­gr­aph­ic­ by payin­g f­o­r­ billbo­ar­ds in­ Bur­no­­ut­ Par­adise­. [gi­go­am] [...]

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