It wasn’t that long ago that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino forced the removal of ads for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories from public transit vehicles operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. Menino’s office also pushed (unsuccessfully) for video game legislation last year.
Thus, there’s irony aplenty to be found in seeing Menino’s face plastered onto Boston buses, courtesy of the ESRB.
Last month GamePolitics broke the news that Menino was partnering with the ESRB on a public service ad campaign designed to raise parental awareness of the video game industry’s content rating system. The bus ads are just a piece of that campaign which also includes TV spots, radio ads and outdoor print ads.
Locally, the Boston Globe and Boston-based Joystiq blogger Alexander Sliwinski have both taken note of the appearance of Menino’s mug on local public transit. According to the Globe, the ESRB forked over $43,195 to the MBTA for the three-month bus ad campaign.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Menino is running for re-election this year. Prof. John Berg of the Suffolk University government department commented on the ads:
They can do this stuff, which is no doubt intended to help the [re-election] campaign, but looks very legitimate because they’re taking advantage of their role as head of the city.