Video Games as Advertising Channels is Here

October 16, 2008

With the election less than 3 weeks away, the media blitz to create political awareness and convincing is in full swing. Traditionally this is through print, radio, television. You know, the traditional mediums. In 2004, advertising on the web was the hot thing. Howard Dean’s grassroots campaign saw plenty of banner ads. But that was 2004. What’s happening in 2008?

Two platforms that I’d like to point out are the iPhone and video games. The Obama campaign has embraced new media in an effort to get younger voters out in record numbers. They release an iPhone app, that allows users to become not just supporters of the campaign, but as promoters of the campaign as well. Organizing events and providing information for promoters to use straight from the candidate’s team. You can even follow Obama on twitter.

The most interesting to me is the use of in game advertising platforms to bring voting awareness to young gamers. And this isn’t a sample market to see if it will work. This is a full-blown media blitz on the video gamers of the USA.

The in-game ads are delivered to players through 18 games, ranging from “Guitar Hero 3” and “The Incredible Hulk” to sports titles like “NASCAR 09,” “NBA Live 08” and “NFL Tour.”

18 games is a lot.

The bigger implications are a reaffirmation to Microsoft and Google that they did the right thing. Microsoft purchased Massive in 2006, and Google purchased AdScape in 2007. Both companies had the foresight to realize the potential of advertising in games. They view games as “channels” that people interact in rather than watching passively.  This is further re-inforced when a recent survey shows that 90% of tweens and teens want a video game for Christmas. 90% of the tween and teen demographic is a lot of eyeballs for advertisers.

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