Barack Obama is trying to increase his lead with younger voters by reaching many of them where they spend the most time. According to the Associated Press, the Senator has become the first presidential candidate to purchase advertising in video games. The temporary ads are showing up through Nov. 3 on in-game billboards and other forms of signage in eighteen games, including Activision’s latest Guitar Hero release and nine Electronic Arts titles such as Madden 09 and Burnout: Paradise. The campaign will also target fans of NASCAR, NBA, NHL and skateboarding games available on Xbox Live.
The ads target 10 states that allow early voting, including battleground states Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Colorado. Drawing attention to the campaign website VoteforChange.com, they are designed to attract the attention of males 18 to 34, a segment of the voting population that is traditionally difficult to reach. Advertisers have been exploring the game space in recent years as this prime demographic moves further away from television and other traditional media outlets in favor of interactive entertainment.
There’s no word on how much the ads cost the Obama campaign, which is apparently not hurting for money. The Democratic candidate recently purchased an entire half-hour of primetime network television time to promote his policies and stance on issues on CBS and NBC on Oct. 29. Web surfers using popular search engine Google.com will also notice pro-Obama ads prominently displayed upon entering certain keywords.