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Politics & Policy

How Samsung Tricked Obama Into Taking That Selfie With David Ortiz


Tuesday was a glorious day for Boston Red Sox fans. The 2013 World Series champions went to the White House to receive congratulations from the president on the South Lawn and give Obama a “44″ Sox jersey. The high point came after David Ortiz’s remarks: The star slugger whipped out his phone and shot a selfie with POTUS, the rest of the team grinning broadly in the background. Yeah, I know. It was corny back when Ellen did it at the Oscars. Still, if you were there—and I was there, #humblebrag—it was a lot of fun.

 

Soon enough, the Ortiz-POTUS selfie was all over ESPN (DIS) and ricocheting around Twitter (TWTR). It had seemed genuine and spontaneous in the moment—exactly the sort of thing Ortiz would be inclined to do. Then last night, Samsung (005930:KS) revealed on Twitter (and the Boston Globe confirmed) that it was part of a ad campaign—basically a commercial.

Twitter

I am a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz and own a Samsung phone. But wow, is that tacky, Samsung! I asked Jay Carney, White House spokesman and himself a diehard Red Sox fan, if Obama was aware that he was being enlisted in an advertising campaign. “POTUS did not know,” Carney said in an e-mail.

Duping the president of the United States into participating with your social media campaign has to be a new low for advertising. It’s flat-out shady. And Ortiz should be embarrassed. That’s a Yankee move. I don’t know what sort of phone the president is carrying in his pocket these days. But if I were him, I’d go shoot a selfie on a new iPhone (AAPL).

Green_190
Green is senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek in Washington. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaGreen.

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