Game Ads: Has Barack Obama Gone too Far? - Black Enterprise

Game Ads: Has Barack Obama Gone too Far?

Barack Obama spares no expense when it comes to getting his message out and hopefully getting the vote out. The campaign has even placed ads in video games by Electronic Art (EA Sports) including “Madden NFL ’09” and 17 other titles. The ads show a picture of Obama and directions to the campaign’s early-voting site,

My brother, 24, was not thrilled with melding of politics and Madden. The games are supposed to appear to users in 10 battle ground states, but he’s in Connecticut and it is by no means a swing state. The ads only show up when gamers play online with other players, not on the games themselves.

According to the Dallas News, the average “gamer” is 35-years-old, and there are more female gamers of voting age than there are male players younger than 17. And 45% of video and computer games sold are action, sports and racing games — the games targeted in the ad buy.

“These ads will help us expand the reach of, so that more people can use this easy tool to find their early vote location and make sure their voice is heard,” Obama campaign spokesman Nick Shapiro told the paper.

The Obama camp purchased the ads after Massive, a company that sells “dynamic in-game advertising,” apporached both campaigns with the proposal.

It’s a given that the race is growing tighter and allegations of voter fraud, suppression, and intimidation can make poll numbers seem irrelevant. But placing political ads in a video game seems somewhat overboard. Sure, the idea isn’t novel and its common practice for companies looking to reach their target audiences. But, shouldn’t a line be drawn?

Renita Burns is the editorial assistant at