President Obama is all for taking selfies with celebrities and sports figures if it means his mug will be seen by their fans. But now he’s mad because Boston Red Socks designated hitter, first baseman and World Series MVP David “Big Papi” Ortiz has a deal with Samsung. The White House was more than happy to tweet out his selfie with Big Papi, but then Samsung tweeted it to all of their followers, and we all know how Obama dislikes capitalism.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the president’s legal team objects to the company’s commercial use of the photograph, which was snapped by Mr. Ortiz with his Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Mr. Ortiz has an endorsement deal with Samsung.
What seemed like a spontaneous moment on the South Portico at the White House was soon distributed by Samsung to its millions of Twitter followers.
“As a rule the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” Mr. Carney said. “And we certainly object in this case.”
Samsung on Thursday declined to comment on the White House’s position or whether the selfie was part of a commercial arrangement with Mr. Ortiz.
Mr. Carney declined to say whether White House lawyers are in touch with Samsung about ceasing its use of the photo featuring President Obama.
Ortiz says is was just a spontaneous moment, but even if it wasn’t, with the president’s popularity on the decline it’s not like Samsung really got anything out of it.
The Ortiz selfie, however, may not be resonating among the public as did Ms. DeGeneres’s photo. YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks consumer perception of brand using online panels, said the latest selfie hasn’t had any meaningful effect on Samsung’s brand.
If anything the whole stunt has probably hurt the Samsung brand. It’s certainly a far cry from Shepard Fairey’s iconic (and eerily reminiscent of Soviet propaganda) “Hope” poster that helped propel Obama to the presidency in 2008.
Fairey was later sued by the AP. He did some bone headed things like destroying evidence, but in the whole scheme of things, his crimes paled in comparison to the damage he helped inflict on this country. For his troubles the Obama administration demanded that he serve prison time. So Samsung better hope they have some good lawyers on retainer.