Blog Post

Obama Campaigning on Xbox 360?

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.

21 Responses to “Obama Campaigning on Xbox 360?”

  1. I think in marketing everything goes so I dont know is this kind of campaign added any votes into the election but for sure is making some young people to start thinking about Obama… hope for good.

  2. President Obama is a truly a marketer who understands demographics and gender. I mean he knows the xbox 360 game is one of the most popular video game among the youth and even the older folks lol!!.The man knows how to bridge the gap between the youth and politics.

  3. Rick Cain

    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.

  4. @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,