Samsung uses Ortiz/Obama selfie to advertise, White House is not amused
posted Friday, April 4, 2014 at 12:25 PM EDT
When the Red Sox baseball team recently visited the White House, player David Ortiz had President Obama pose with him for a "selfie" and immediately tweeted the picture he took with his Samsung smartphone to his followers. Of course, the company grabbed the opportunity by its horns, and retweeted the image. Now the question is, was this shot staged in the same way that the Ellen Degeneres selfie during the Oscars was?
That's what the White House must assume after it was revealed that baseball star David Ortiz is actually being paid to promote Samsung. While it is common practice among major brands to pay famous faces to advertise for their products, the White House explicitly "objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes," according to Press Secretary Jay Carney. "And we certainly object in this case."
Ortiz himself denies all claims that his selfie with Obama was a promotional stunt like the Degeneres Oscars selfie. "It wasn’t anything promotional, anything like that. I mean, who knows that you’re going to take a picture with the president? [...] It was like, 'Oh, wait a minute, let me see if I can get away with this.' I was lucky that I was right there," he reveals to ESPN.
There is no official statement on the matter from Samsung, but everything points to the company being the brains behind this PR stunt. As the Wall Street Journal notes, Samsung admittedly coordinated with Ortiz before the meeting, advising him on how to share images with his fans. Whether or not this incident will have any consequences for either Ortiz or Samsung remains to be seen.
But one thing is for sure: after this and the Oscar selfie by Ellen Degeneres, celebrities apparently snapping a harmless "selfies" will be viewed in a different light. After all, it is very likely that they're being sponsored by the very company that made the device they are using.