OBAMA TARGETS GAMERS WITH ADS
By MATHEW INGRAM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Print Edition, Page R3
Video-game advertising - not ads for new video games, but what's called "in-game" advertising - isn't new. Game aficionados have been seeing Coke logos, Budweiser slogans and other ads pop up on the sides of racetracks and basketball stadiums in video games for at least a year or two. But what is new is a political candidate using that tactic as part of the marketing campaign for his presidential bid.
According to several reports, Democratic candidate Barack Obama is doing just that, with billboards appearing inside the Burnout Paradise game on Xbox 360. A spokesman for Electronic Arts confirmed that the presidential nominee has been running ads inside the racing game, which consist of virtual billboards with a picture of Obama and text that says "Early voting has begun." The ad also gives the Web address for the Vote for Change website.
The in-game ads are just the latest example of how the Obama campaign has been pushing the envelope with respect to digital media and the online world. The candidate was an early user of social-media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and recently launched an iPhone application to help supporters reach their friends and convince them to vote.
The campaign of Republican candidate John McCain, meanwhile, has been less enamoured with online aspects of the presidential campaign, although it did create a retro Facebook game called "Pork Invaders."
For more details and links, please see the Ingram 2.0 blog at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts.