AS we enter the holiday shopping season, the ESRB has apparently been working overtime to gain endorsements for its content rating system from state-level political heavyweights.
In recent days GamePolitics has reported that key elected officials in Mississippi, Missouri, Kansas and New Jersey have endorsed the ESRB ratings.
The latest to climb on board is Nebraska's Attorney General Jon Bruning (R). Yesterday, Bruning and the ESRB jointly launched a public service announcement which will air on local radio and TV. The campaign is designed to raise parental awareness of game ratings as parents begin their holiday shopping. Bruning, no doubt, is also expecting that the ads will raise parental awareness of Bruning.
In the spot, the A.G. is seen playing Xbox 360 game with his children. The game isn't shown, but we can safely assume it isn't GTA IV or Left 4 Dead. Bruning offers a comment in the accompanying press release:
Parents should be involved and take an active role in choosing games for their kids. The ESRB ratings are an effective tool every parent can use to pick video games that are age-appropriate and family-friendly. I use them when I buy games for my children. I hope Nebraskans will too.
GP: In addition to Bruning and others who signed onto the ESRB campaign recently, more than a dozen elected officials, primarily governors and A.G.s, are already on board.
As GamePolitics has pointed out before, the ESRB PSAs are a win-win for the game industry as well as for the political figures involved. The ESRB proactively gets its message out to parents. The political figures in turn are able to promote an image of helpfulness and concern. Production costs are on the game industry's dime, and, because they are public service announcements, radio and TV stations run the ads for free.
From a strategic perspective, this campaign has been little short of brilliant. Whoever thought of it deserves a raise.