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Obama Drags In-Game Advertising into Political Arena


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Earlier this week, Xbox Live gamer Dragunov765 posted photos of ads for Sen. Barack Obama — which purportedly appeared in a game called Burnout Paradise — in a gaming forum called Rooster Teeth.

"Early Voting has Begun!" the ads proclaim alongside the image of Obama, his face framed by a halo of light. "VoteforChange.com."

Gaming blog GamePolitics attempted to contact Electronic Arts (EA) for verification of the ads, but the company has not responded. Earlier this month, EA started selling dynamic in-game ad space in Sims 3, which comes out in February.

Meanwhile, speculation that the Presidential candidate is promoting himself in video games has passed from the gaming space to the ad blogosphere, scoring coverage on ad news site Advertising Age.

"I gotta give [Obama] credit for covering all the bases," gamer Dragunov765 was reported as saying. "I also think this is an interesting endorsement for adults as gamers."

Obama's presidential campaign has been characterized by a number of ad experiments. His social media popularity, for example, vastly outweighs that of rival Sen. John McCain, in part because his campaign permitted users to mash up his speeches and videos. He also launched a social network and is an avid participant on Twitter.

Over the summer Obama drew attention with a large-scale mobile campaign. Users registered on the website for a text message divulging Obama's VP pick. In more recent efforts, he launched an iPhone app that enables fans to better connect with each other — and, as a final coup, purchased 30 minutes of ad space during prime time on network television.

The half-hour "ad" goes live on October 29, six days before Election Day.

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