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Did Samsung Cross the Line with Obama-Ortiz Selfie?

It appears Samsung may have overstepped its boundaries with the infamous selfie-marketing stunt they pulled last week, as it got the company into hot water with the White House.

The controversial selfie in question was taken by David Ortiz during a visit by the Boston Red Sox to the White House last week. Senior advisor, Dan Pfeiffer said on Sunday it may likely be the last selfie.


Trouble for Samsung over this controversial selfie of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz with President Obama
Image Courtesy of Carolyn Kaster/AP

It was later divulged that the photo of Ortiz and President Barack Obama, snapped by the Red Sox slugger, was part of a promotion for Samsung.

“Well, [President Obama] obviously didn’t know anything about Samsung’s connection to this,” Pfeiffer said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.  And perhaps maybe this will be the end of all selfies.”

Officials at the White House have reportedly “had conversations with Samsung about this and expressed our concerns,” Pfeiffer said, as he declined to go into specifics. “We’ll leave that conversation between the lawyers.”

The photo opportunity took place during a ceremony when the Red Sox presented a commemorative No. 44 jersey to President Obama, at which time, Oritiz whipped out his cellular device and snapped the photo with the president.

“He wants to take a selfie!” Obama said. “It’s the Big Papi selfie.”

After the ceremony concluded, Ortiz tweeted the selfie from his Twitter account. Samsung then retweeted the image, saying it was “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit.”

“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans,” the company said in a statement. “We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.”

The All Star designated hitter, according to Sports Business Journal, recently inked an endorsement deal with Samsung to be its “MLB social media insider.”

“So when the Red Sox visit the White House this week to commemorate their World Series victory, ‘Big Papi’ will be tweeting and sending photos on Samsung’s behalf,” the publication reported Monday, which was the day before Papi took the presidential selfie.

On Wednesday, Ortiz denied all claims that the selfie had anything to do with his new endorsement deal.

“It wasn’t anything promotional, anything like that,” Ortiz said. “I mean, who knows that you’re going to take a picture with the president? How many people can guarantee that? It was something we don’t even have to talk about.”

“It just came out right in the moment when I gave him the jersey and he asked to take pictures,” Ortiz continued. “It was like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, let me see if I can get away with this.’ It was luck that I was right there. It was fun. It was something I’ll never forget.”

There’s a good chance the White House isn’t letting it slip from memory either.

“As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during his daily news briefing on Thursday. “And we certainly object in this case.”

Last month at the Oscars, Samsung reaped the benefits of viral success when host Ellen DeGeneres snapped a star-studded selfie with her Samsung phone. The image was notoriously retweeted more than 3 million times, breaking a new Twitter record. Who was the previous record holder you ask? Well that would be Barack Obama.


Did Samsung Cross the Line with Obama-Ortiz Selfie?


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