Reaching audiences where they already are
Advertising only works if it reaches its desired audience. So while television and newspaper executives hold conference calls to figure out how to reach “young people,” Barack Obama bypassed that possibly Sisyphean struggle and became the first presidential candidate to put ads into video games.
Using the services and technology of Microsoft subsidiary Massive Entertainment, players of 18 (maybe, reports vary) different video game titles will see messages supporting Obama on billboards and others places such ads would logically appear in real life. Guitar Hero, Burnout Paradise, and several sports titles including Electronic Arts’ hugely popular Madden NFL 09 and NHL 09.
Massive’s technology enables the ads to show on a schedule tailored by the Obama campaign and only in ten selected states that allow early voting: Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida, and Colorado. Someone at the New Statesman (Iain Simons, maybe) had more patience than I and got a screen grab.
Regardless of your politics, that’s smart advertising when a poll by CBS News, the New York Times and MTV found young audiences tended to prefer Obama. Remember that Magna Global USA reported the four major networks each had a median age of 40 or more, and print newspaper readers are even older.
Massive launched for PC games in 2005 with advertisers including Paramount Pictures, Universal Music Group, Warner Bros., Sci Fi Channel, Coca-Cola, Honda, Intel, Nokia and T-Mobile. It expanded to Xbox and PlayStation as consoles became Internet-enabled, and in 2006 was purchased by Microsoft in a deal the Wall Street Journal valued at between $200 and $400 million.