Tech Watch: Obama Launches Video Game Campaign; Microsoft on Windows 7; and Adobe Ships CS4

In a last-minute campaign effort, Obama’s team has launched a full force Video Game Campaign extending the candidate’s reach into the 18-34 market.

Obama Ad Campaign Targets Video Games


Following in the footsteps of leading-edge advertisers like Red Bull, the Obama campaign has diversified their ad blitz to include not only print and television spots, but also ads in social networking sites and video games.

The campaign has reportedly purchased ad space in several Internet-enabled video games running on Microsoft‘s Xbox 360 platform. The titles include popular games like Burnout Paradise and Madden NFL ’09, and the ads will be restricted to users connecting from battleground states like Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Wisconsin. The ads in the game burnout appear as billboards that say “Early voting has begun /”

This is the latest tech-savvy step for a campaign that has shown unprecedented mastery of social networking, text messaging and targeted emailing to spread information about its candidate. This isn’t the Obama campaign’s first foray into non-traditional advertising, however; the candidate also sponsors spots on popular sites like, a streaming television site, as well as Google‘s YouTube. If you’re a Facebook user, you’ve probably seen his ads there, too.

Whether or not this is a wise investment of last-minute capital — or if users even pay much attention to in-game ads — remains to be seen, but if Obama wins in November, it’s likely that other candidates will attempt to duplicate his strategy to enfranchise the elusive 18-34 age group.

Microsoft Defending Windows 7 Already?

Microsoft has already let a few details out about its next-generation operating system, Windows 7. But the beleaguered Vista-maker is already fending off customer criticism about the unreleased OS because of a seemingly superficial feature: its name.


Mike Nash, vice president of Windows product management, defended the company’s official choice of the Windows 7 moniker on Monday amidst widespread user criticism that the company is only, in fact, on version 6.1 of Windows.

In an entry on the Windows Vista blog, Nash said, “I’ll say upfront that there are many ways to count the releases of Windows, and it’s been both a trip down memory lane and quite amusing to read all the different theories about how we got to the number.”

Bloggers have pointed out that the count should rightfully be higher than seven, but Nash sees it differently. He’s counting several Windows versions — Windows 92 SE, 95, 98 and Millennium – as a single version, 4.0. Using that tally, Windows 2000 would be version 5.0 and Vista would be version 6.0. Where’s XP? That was merely 5.1, according to Nash.

The discrepancy has irked users because of its circuitous logic, which some bloggers have said makes the company seem even more out of touch than it already does. After repeated attempts to change consumers’ minds about using Windows Vista with its “Mojave project” and Seinfeld/Gates TV spots, the company is already on thin ice with users, who have lambasted the ads as condescending. For Microsoft’s sake, here’s hoping that Windows 7 strikes a chord with its user base, so the company can take a rest from its publicity wars and address real product feedback.

Adobe Ships Creative Suite 4

If you’re one of the design illuminati, your bible was Adobe CS3 — until now. Yesterday the company began shipping Creative Suite 4 for both Mac OS X and Windows, in several different iterations. The price points are as follows: Web Premium will retail for $1700, Production Premium also for $1700, Design Premium for $1800, and Master Collection for $2500.


Adobe says that CS4 brings “radical breakthroughs in workflow efficiency,” a trait that has been a source of criticism of the suite in versions past. Notably, CS4 will also deliver Adobe’s new Flash 10 software, the successor to the company’s ubiquitous web-based animation technology.

Among the new features are things like “Live Preflight” in InDesign CS4, which lets designers catch production errors more easily, as well as revised file-management functionality. Photoshop, for its part, will see a new “Content-aware scaling tool” that automatically recomposes an image when it’s resized to new dimensions. The suite also features XMP metadata support, which should result in better-optimized, searchable

online video that is also more easily monetized by its creators. The suite also features a litany of new online collaboration tools to make group production more streamlined.

As an introductory offer, owners of older CS suites can get $200 off a CS4 upgrade package for a limited time by visiting Adobe’s website.


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I've written about innovation, design, and technology for Fast Company since 2007. I was the co-founding editor of FastCoLabs