Obama’s videogame ads are as big brother as they are big innovator

October 15, 2008

This is one picture you want to see. As reported widely yesterday and picked up by CrunchGear today, the Obama campaign has purchased ad space in several Electronic Arts games, including Madden NFL and Burnout Paradise, which is where the killer ad image comes from. It’s not technically video, though the boundary between videogames and video is blurring on its way to eroding completely.

Obamas face appears on virtual billboard in videogame

Obama's face appears on virtual billboard in videogame

What I get a kick out of is how much this ad image feels like Big Brother, with its pervasive access to your living room.

At the same time, the ad is a great way for a candidate who appeals to younger voters to reach them in a context that is more likely to have appeal. So I won’t knock it, even though the image itself does haunt. The real controversy comes from the gamer crowd, one of the last to lay down their arms (or gamepads) and give into pervasive advertising. Reading some of the comments on Crunchgear today will reveal that many are not ready to go hand-in-hand with advertisers into that brave new advertising world. For example

Lovely, now we are paying to be advertised to on top of buying the product? EA should make advertising to its customers voluntary with free map packs or something for those willing to sell their souls instead of forcing us all to look at s___ we don’t want to.