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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : October 16, 2008

In-game ads added to Obama campaign

In order to reach the youth of today, presidential candidate Barack Obama is making his presence felt in places where they hang out, in particular in online settings such as Second Life and video games.

by Helen Leggatt

In-game ads alerting gamers to 'early voting' for Barack Obama are being displayed in a variety of Electronic Arts Xbox 360 games. While many are reporting that this is the first time ads in games have been used to bolster a presidential campaign, TechDigest has pointed out that John McCain placed ads in the original game of Jumanji back in 1996.

Barack Obama campaigned in Second Life in March 2007, and an Obama Fest '08 was held by his Second Life supporters in September of this year.

Now the Democratic politician has bought ads in around 18 Electronic Arts games such as Madden, NASCAR, NBA, NHL and Skate. The ads, which have been appearing since the beginning of October, are only displayed to gamers in the 10 most hotly contested states - Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

It's a savvy way for a politician to campaign to the younger generation, many of whom aren't averse to in-game ads providing they don't detract from the reality of the gaming experience. Much of the younger generation are shunning traditional media channels such as television and radio, so getting the message across online and in video games is vital to reach this audience of 18-34 year olds.

"These ads will help us expand the reach of, so that more people can use this easy tool to find their early vote location and make sure their voice is heard," Obama spokesperson, Nick Shapiro, said.

Tags: Barack Obama, Electronic Arts, gamers, in-game ads, Second Life,, younger generation

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