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Five Weird Video Game Sponsorship Deals

by Kyle Hilliard on May 18, 2014 at 02:48 PM

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The upcoming option to buy and download the Dogecoin sponsored car in NASCAR ’14 showcases some strange crossover of sponsorship and video games, but compared to what we’ve seen in the past, it’s pretty tame.

These are some of the strangest instances of product placement and strange sponsorship that have appeared in video games.

image source: Giant Bomb

Barack Obama buys billboards in Paradise City
In 2008, during Barack Obama’s first bid at the presidency, he looked to the world of video games to spread his message. As the delivery method for this method, he chose a game all about crashing cars at high speeds. It was isolated to certain regions, but depending on where you were playing the game, there was a time in 2008 where you would be greeted by billboards of Barack Obama while exploring Paradise City.

Pokémon are the official mascots for Japan at the 2014 World Cup
In March, Pikachu and a handful of other Pokémon were named the official mascots of the Blue Samurai, Japan’s soccer team at the World Cup. As a Japan outsider, I have always thought of Pokémon as representatives for the country, and it turns out Japan feels the same way.

image source: Hunta on YouTube

SoBe vending machines in Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
Leading up to the launch of the Xbox and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee, the SoBe drink company got involved with promotion. As a product of the partnership, SoBe vending machines appeared in Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. It’s a particularly strange crossover for a few reasons. To see drink machines from Earth in a game that takes place on an alien planet is strange, but to make it even weirder, the drink manufacturers of the Oddworld games are usually the villains. I'm surprised SoBe would want to appear in the game this way.

image source: gamefaqs

Subway in Infamous 2’s New Marais
It makes more sense than a SoBe vending machine in Oddworld since Infamous does take place on Earth, but it was still very strange to see a Subway restaurant in New Marais. Infamous may take place on Earth, but the first two games took place in fake cities. Why was there a Subway in the city, and weirder still, why was there only one? It seems like a popular franchise fast food restaurant like Subway would be all over the place.

Mountain Dew, Doritos, and AXE unlockables in Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker
In the Japanese version of Metal Gear Solid: Peacewalker it was possible for players to unlock assorted t-shirts featuring Mountain Dew, Doritos, and AXE body spray logos. Snake could also find Doritos and Mountain Dew items in the game. Real-world commercial items have appeared in Metal Gear Solid games before, but this was a little excessive. Why were these modern-day products in a game that took place in the 1974?

Are there any other bizarre sponsorship crossovers that caught your attention in video games?