David Ortiz's selfie with President Barack Obama while the World Champion Red Sox visited the White House Tuesday is catching a lot of negative attention because the president was unwittingly used as a promotion.
"As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president's likeness for commercial purposes," White House Press Secretary Jay Carneys said during a news briefing Thursday. "And we certainly object in this case."
The White House said President Obama had no idea when he posed for what seemed like a spontaneous snap that it was part of a promotion deal by Samsung, the manufacturer of the phone.
But Ortiz did know. And apparently some of his teammates knew as well.
Samsung recently named Ortiz a "social media insider," and coached him prior to his White House visit.
In a statement, the company said: "It was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement." And they tweeted it to more than 5 million followers, noting that it was taken with the Galaxy Note 3.
Samsung was also behind the record-setting tweet of the photo Ellen DeGeneres took at the academy awards.
Ortiz said Wednesday that he has a deal with tech giant, but that the photo with Obama was spontaneous.
"It wasn't anything promotional or anything like that. Who knows that you're going to take a picture with the president, you know what I'm saying? How many people can guarantee that?" Ortiz said.
Of course, it's not the first time the president has posed for a selfie. In February he squeezed in between Bill Nye the Science Guy and astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson.
Then there was Nelson Mandela's memorial service, when President Obama raised some eyebrows by posing during the ceremony with the prime ministers of Britain and Denmark.
But it's one thing to snap a souvenir photo, and something else to use it as a commercial.
When a garment manufacturer put a billboard in Times Square of the president wearing one of its jackets, the White House asked them to take it down.
"You have to realize that the issue is that it's not really an ad, it's just a photo," said Suzanne Vranica who covers advertising for the Wall Street Journal.
She said Samsung is hoping to become synonymous with the selfie, and take a bite out of Apple's market share.
"I think it's a risky move but, I think it's a risky move and this is a brand that is on a tear and they are willing to pull any lever they can to attack apple," Vranica said.
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