Samsung marketing machine snags Obama in selfie

White House unaware of connection The latest pitchman in Samsung’s marketing machine: an unwitting President Barack Obama. Boston Red Sox baseball player David Ortiz snapped a selfie with the president at a White House event using a Samsung phone and tweeted it to his followers Tuesday. It was resent by tens of thousands of Twitter […]

White House unaware of connection

The latest pitchman in Samsung’s marketing machine: an unwitting President Barack Obama.

Boston Red Sox baseball player David Ortiz snapped a selfie with the president at a White House event using a Samsung phone and tweeted it to his followers Tuesday. It was resent by tens of thousands of Twitter users, and Samsung retweeted the photo as an ad. The company also said in a tweet that the photo was taken with a Samsung phone.

The White House press secretary said Wednesday that Obama was not aware of the marketing stunt. Ortiz’s agent did not respond to questions.

Remind anyone of Ellen DeGeneres’ celebrity-happy selfie from the Oscars? That was also taken with a Samsung phone and retweeted millions of times.

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of smartphones, is making a name for itself as an aggressive, off-beat marketer. The company used its outsized ad budget to poke fun at its top rival, iPhone maker Apple, as well as people who purchase Apple products. It was also an Oscars sponsor and has a deal with Ortiz.

In its latest fiscal year, Samsung spent roughly $4 billion on advertising, about four times as much as Apple. Although Samsung makes TVs, refrigerators and other products, analysts believe much of the marketing is for newer products such as phones.

Samsung splashed the Oscars ceremony with phones and encouraged student presenters to post photos taken with the gadgets.

As for Ortiz, “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 said. “We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture.”

Samsung was tight-lipped on the nature of its relationship with him. But the baseball player told the Boston Globe Wednesday that he signed a deal with Samsung a few months ago and the company gives him “phones and other stuff.”

The Obama selfie “wasn’t anything on purpose,” Ortiz told the Globe. “I would say I went along just like everyone else taking pictures and posted.”

Brands Articles

Future Shop closure ‘inevitable,’ but tech retail okay: expert

Electronics often purchased online, but customers still value traditional stores

How social helped resurrect three beloved cereal brands

General Mills puts Trix back on shelves for Easter, proves it's not just for kids

How to offer a better in-store experience (Column)

Curation, media planning and disruptive design drive loyalty, product engagement

Target speeds up Canadian exit

Retailer plans to wind up stores by mid April

Why marketers should push forward, not pull back

In today's economy, slashing ad budgets can mean lost sales and lost opportunities

Simons selects Cossette as agency partner for expansion

Agency to help Quebec retailer build brand awareness outside its home province

Future Shop stores closing, some converting to Best Buys

Closure will result in the loss of 500 full-time and 1,000 part-time jobs

CMOs want the ‘brand’ back in branded content

At IAB Engage, marketers for Molson, Kraft, Cara Foods talk branded content strategy