Print Politics

Print Ads in Gamer Land

Election campaigning comes to Xbox Live.


I can officially say that I've seen it all when it comes to the Obama campaign's political printing tactics. Game publishers like EA confirmed this week that the campaign has become the first in history to invest money in print advertising in the gaming world.

If you're playing anything from Burnout: Paradise to NBA on Xbox Live, expect to see billboards and other virtual print signage advertising Obama's Presidential campaign in-game.

Because the games are played online, game publishers are able to launch and remove “print” ad campaigns as space is bought up by advertisers. The Obama ads are slated to run until Election Day.

"Early Voting Has Begun," the virtual print ads read, next to a picture of Obama looking inspired and inspiring. The billboards and signs then direct gamers to visit Unfortunately, we're not yet at the point where gamers can click directly on the link and surf to the webpage from their Xbox, but hey, a print ad designer can dream.

Gaming reviewers and political pundits are already commenting on the fact that the virtual print ads send a mixed message, as Obama has often cited gaming in a negative context.

It's also debatable whether or not a video game ad has any power to pull the average gamer off the couch. If I was running that campaign, I'd definitely switch things up on Election Day with some big signage telling gamers, "Okay, you should go vote RIGHT NOW!"

Print ads that go up and out on the day when a call to action is required are extremely effective, but can be difficult to orchestrate. With these virtual in-game print ads, the process should be simpler. We'll see if the campaign takes advantage of the medium's versatility.

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