Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama is Bloody Brilliant

Yeah, I know. I swore off political pieces on the blog. But this topic is more about business, marketing, and advertising than anything else. I heard a quick blurb on the radio this morning about Barrack Obama targeting video games as an advertising vehicle. Being a gamer, I knew this was an absolutely brilliant move. As soon as I got into the office I jumped online and found this article confirming what I’d heard on the radio.

How does it work? The Microsoft XBOX can be connected to the Internet, allowing for important updates and patches and also facilitating cooperative or competitive play online through XBOX Live. When the gamer connects his XBOX to the web, he will get an update or patch that contains the Obama advertising. Then when he plays certain games online such as racing games, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or any other game where there are banners, billboards, or signs, Obama’s “vote early” message will be displayed on the billboard. This is pure genius.

The older generation won’t understand why anyone would throw millions of dollars at advertising via XBOX. Video game players are 14-year-old kids with no social skills, pale grey skin, oily faces, and 30 pounds over/underweight. Right? WRONG. The following data was pulled from the most current news release I could find from the ESA, Entertainment Software Association, dated July 16, 2008:

The average age of game players is 35 years old.
65% of American households play computer and video games.
38% of American households have a video game console.
1 out of 4 gamers is over age 50.
33% of the gamer population is women over age 18.
41% of Americans plan to purchase 1 or more games this year.

This article also has some fascinating data that surprised me. It shows that parents are highly involved in the purchase of video games and are largely present when the games are played in the home. 63% of parents believe games are a positive part of their children’s lives. I’m part of that statistic. I was also thrilled to see that 85% of games purchased last year were rated “Everyone (E) or Teen (T) as opposed to mature content games with a “Mature (M)” rating.

I think it’s fair to say that a good portion of America is undecided on which candidate will get its vote. It’s also probably fair to say that a decent percentage of that statistic doesn’t have a firm understanding on issues and tickets but still plans to vote. Seeing Barrack Obama’s grill on a billboard stage left while you shred your Les Paul controller on “Cliffs of Dover” is just freaking cool. If I were one of the undecided ignoranti, I’d vote for him based on coolness factor alone. Obama is effectively reaching his target demographic while showing he is in touch with the "hip" generation. McCain is likely hobnobbing bingo parlors and spreading the word via squeezebox.

Brilliant move senator. Well-played sir.

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