He has been one of the video game industry's most aggressive critics in the past, but GamePolitics has learned that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D) will partner with the ESRB on a public service ad campaign designed to raise parental awareness of the video game rating system.
The campaign, unveiled in Boston by Menino and ESRB President Patricia Vance, will feature T.V. and radio ads as well as outdoor print ads. Of the media blitz, Menino said:
Parents want control of the media that comes into their homes, and the entertainment that their children enjoy. That’s why it’s so imperative that we educate parents about useful and informative tools like the ESRB ratings and rating summaries, so they’ll be empowered to make informed choices about which games they deem appropriate. I’m proud to be educating parents in our city about the tools at their disposal.
With today's news, Menino joins a number of high-profile elected officials around the country who have partnered with the ESRB on game ratings awareness campaigns over the past several years. Given Menino's track record as a video game industry critic, the turnabout is especially significant.
In 2006 Menino led a campaign to have Grand Theft Auto ads removed from public transit. In 2007 his office flirted with video game legislation authored by Jack Thompson. The Boston Mayor's video game bill was eventually submitted to the legislature in 2008, but died in committee.
Menino, who earlier this year touted Boston as a game industry-friendly city in an effort to attract jobs, is running for an unpredecented fifth term as mayor.