Barack appears in Burnout Paradise

In game advertising has seen quite a week.  If Google’s big announcement of getting into the game (literally) wasn’t enough to make advertisers and marketers drool with anticipation, the monetization model received another boost a few days back when Xbox Live gamer Dragunov slammed on the breaks to snap this shot of a Barack Obama ad appearing in Burnout Paradise.

Dragunov came across the ads, grabbed a few screenshots and posted them to his Rooster Teeth journal page.  He reports:

Here’s the photos I took while playing Burnout: Paradise on the XBox 360.  I don’t know how often they rotate the in-game advertising, but I imagine they are still up.

I gotta give [Obama] credit for covering all the bases.  I also think this is an interesting endorsement for adults as gamers (or maybe he’s planting the seeds for a re-election bid in 4 years…)

Now these screenshots are either an outstanding Photoshop work, a viral ad planned and released by the Obama campaign, or maybe  both.  Either way you look at it, this is remarkable.  The ads display that early voting has already begun and point directly to Obamas site voteforchange.com.

While neither EA or the Obama campaign responded to our inquiries confirming the ads, clearly Obama and/or his diehard photoshopping supporters have created waves and know exactly where and how to reach young voters.

Given that approximately one third of all American households contain either a PS3, Xbox 360, or Wii, the Obama campaign has the potential to reach a market that normally may or may not pay attention to political ads.  Granted, there is the potential that most Burnout Paradise drivers are going to go flying by the ads, but then again, there are gamers like Dragunov that stopped to view the billboard, snapped a few photos, and here we are….discussing Barack Obama.  Include the recent Brandweek survey conducted by the Nielsen Games division that concluded that 11 percent of gamers said they bought a brand after seeing it advertised in a game, and you’ve got a powerful mix on your hands.  I guess the next logical step is when can I pony up and get a microtransaction Obama paintjob for my ride?

The Obama camp is clearly showing great technological progress in terms of not only leveraging the technology, but also targeting and delivering it at just the right time and place.  With his my.barackObama, Facebook page, and iPhone app the Democrats are painting themselves as those in the know, while John McCain is still struggling to understand email.

Historically, the young voter group is the least likely to actually show up at the polls on Election Day, but we’ve seen some incredible progress from both political parties to embrace and utilize the power of the online world.  From Howard Dean’s incredible use of viral marketing via blogs, to Obama’s ads appearing in Burnout Paradise, clearly virtual worlds are beginning to gain the attention of even the oldest of old school.

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