Obama election ads target gamers

Posted by David Konow

For a moment there, it looked like Obama was in trouble with the debates.

Romney did come out ahead for a moment, thanks in part to a silly pop culture reference to Big Bird. But with Tuesday night's debate, it looks like Obama is indeed back strong, although for many people he's still got a lot to prove. With this election proving to be a close one, a presidential candidate should seek all the help they can, and Obama may have picked an interesting way to win more votes.

I usually try to steer clear of politics on here, because even though I’m a bleeding heart liberal, I feel the most important thing is that people vote, period. Doesn’t matter if I agree with who you vote for, as long as you think that’s persons the right guy for the job, that’s fine with me.
 
Yet I found a recent story on Ad Week that was too interesting to ignore. As Mike Shields, digital editor for Ad Week reports, with this year’s election the swing states are so crucial to win that Obama’s going into the world of gaming for your vote.

Yes, the president is running campaign ads in a number of Electronic Arts games in Ohio, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia. (One of the games Obama will be advertising in will be Madden NFL 13.) Obama also has virtual ads on Pogo.com, as well as on the mobile games Battleship, Scrabble and Tetris.

 
This seems like a smart strategy to hit younger voters, much like Bill Clinton appearing on MTV back in the early 90’s. (Maybe Obama didn’t want to compete with Jersey Shore…) As it turns out, Obama’s done this before back in 2008, running virtual ads in a number of games like Burnout Paradise and Need For Speed. While gaming didn’t win the election for Obama, EA told Ad Week it definitely helped.
 
EA claims that gamers felt 120% more positive towards a presidential candidate after seeing a virtual ad, and 50% more likely to vote for them. As EA executive Dave Madden said, "It was made clear in the last election that reaching consumers through video games makes a significant impact, so it’s no surprise to see this tactic used once again in such a competitive election."
 
This fall and winter is also shaping up to be a hell of a season for games with Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops, so it will definitely be interesting to see if gaming helps Obama win a second term, even if it gives him a small edge over Romney. As we saw with Clinton on MTV back in ’92, appealing directly to young people to vote had a big impact, and gaming may be the best way to do that today.