Sometimes people try too hard.
Barack Obama has been running his campaign full-tilt in the social-media realm. And that’s cool. It’s definitely a first as far as presidential campaigns go and the results have been positive. Going forward, I think social-media is going to be a staple of any such campaign.
But I think the Big O’s marketing team went a bit too far with the placement of “VOTE FOR BARACK” billboards in the Xbox game, Burnout Paradise. Now I haven’t played the game yet, but if it’s anything like most racing games, the scenery whips past rather rapidly. Will gamers stop the race to check out the board? Will they log off half-way to visit Obama’s site? Will anyone playing the game even register the billboards? For argument’s sake, let’s say that they do. Is that necessarily a good thing? For sure, product placement is probably going to be the way forward if things continue the way they are. However, much like banner-ads (bleh!) product-placement needs to be contextually-appropriate…
or you wind up with this scenario:
Still funny. Ok, it’s a little extreme but you get the idea.
Burnout Paradise was just the start. Obama’s signs and billboards now appear in 18 different games – from Madden NFL ’09 to Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. All in all, it’s an amazing turnaround from the man who said, “[…] put the video games away.[..]“. Backtrack Obama?
Being an avid gamer myself, I have to say I enjoy the little touches of “reality” in games…where they’re appropriate (see how that keeps coming back?) and where they add to the gaming experience. The Fifa football series from EA would not be the same without the proper kit, stadia or players.
So Obama on a billboard? I don’t think it’s gonna be enough. Obama as an unlockable character who gets to drive the latest Ferrari (complete with Joe Biden bobble-head on the dash)? You got my vote.