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Video games feature ads for Obama’s campaign

world Updated: Oct 15, 2008 23:33 IST

AP
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For those too busy playing video games to watch presidential ads on television, Barack Obama has a solution. He’s become the first presidential candidate to buy ad space inside a game.

Eighteen video games, including the extremely popular Guitar Hero and Madden 09, will feature in-game ads from the Obama campaign in the final weeks before the election. The ads — appearing on billboards and other signage — remind players that early voting has begun and plug a campaign website that encourages people to register for early voting.

Obama campaign officials said the ads target 10 states that allow early voting, including several battleground states: Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, Florida and Colorado.

“These ads will help us expand the reach of VoteforChange.Com, so that more people can use this easy tool to find their early vote location and make sure their voice is heard,” said Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro. The campaign did not say how much it cost to launch the ad blitz on gamers.

The idea of embedding advertising temporarily inside a video game is relatively new, having only begun about 18 months ago, and Obama is the first presidential candidate to buy space, according to Holly Rockwood, a spokeswoman for Electronic Arts Inc, whose company is featuring the Obama ads in nine of its games.

The Democrat’s ads are aimed primarily at game players who like sports, including NASCAR, the NBA, the NHL and skateboarding. That means EA Sports’ motto, “It’s in the game,” now applies to presidential politics as well.

Rockwood would not say how much the ads cost, but she said they are running on the Xbox Live versions of the game through November 3.