How Samsung and David Ortiz Roped the President Into a Promotional Selfie

Obama photo was a planned social stunt

Has Samsung gone selfie crazy? The smartphone maker behind the Oscar selfie tweeted 'round the world has now brought President Barack Obama unwittingly into its marketing act.

Unbeknownst to the leader of the free world, Samsung brand ambassador David Ortiz hooked the president into a selfie using his Samsung phone during a team visit to the White House on Tuesday. Ortiz, known as Big Papi, then tweeted his presidential selfie, and Samsung picked it up for use in its social marketing activities.

Samsung planned the selfie, equipping Ortiz with its phone and hoping a moment might present itself, which it did.

“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans,” Samsung told The Boston Globe. “We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture.”

Samsung also was a sponsor of the Academy Awards and had host Ellen DeGeneres use its device to take a selfie with actress Meryl Streep. DeGeneres went further, however, using the phone to capture a group of A-listers that included Streep, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts. It was the most retweeted photo of all time, an honor that once belonged to President Obama with a reelection photo of him embracing the first lady.

Today the White House had to react to the unauthorized presidential endorsement, saying the president had no idea that when Ortiz pulled him aside for a personal photo that it was a marketing stunt.

The New York Post reported that other players were overheard saying “Ka-ching” when Big Papi got his chance, apparently aware that it was a big-money marketing opportunity.

"We were thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit,” Samsung told The Globe. “It was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement. Similar to the selfie Ellen was able to capture during the Oscars, this was an opportunity for David to share the incredible moment with his fans.”


Publish date: April 2, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT