The Selfie to End All Selfies: Samsung Goes Too Far to Market Its Products

A long time ago, Justin Long tried to stay relevant by appearing in a series of commercials as the personification of an Apple product who always argued with his PC counterpart. While this may have only been a few years ago, I say a “long time ago” because this was way back when Microsoft was Apple’s biggest enemy. These days that competitor seems to be none other than Samsung, the Korean technology giant. This relatively new but very intense rivalry has been scarred by a series of lawsuits between the two tech giants, mostly dealing with Samsung’s seeming inability to come up with novel products, and instead copying Apple’s newest devices and selling them under its very successful Galaxy line.

David Ortiz was paid by Samsung to take a selfie with President Obama a few weeks ago. Image by David Ortiz.

While Samsung may not be very good at coming up with original devices, they are very good at product placement and advertising. Samsung’s marketing prowess is one of the main reasons it has ballooned over the last couple of years to become one of the world’s most valuable companies. In particular, Samsung is very good at making sure its devices end up in the right peoples’ hands. For example, LeBron James is a paid product promoter for Samsung’s extremely successful Galaxy Note series of smartphones. He posts pictures on Twitter from his Galaxy Note, as well as appearing in commercials and promotional events for Samsung. The Korean tech giant also paid Ellen DeGeneres to take a selfie with a Samsung phone at the Oscars, a photo which went on to become the most retweeted picture of all time. The key to Samsung’s advertising success is subtle yet consistent product placements. However, Samsung may have gone overboard a few weeks ago in attempting to promote its new flagship phone.

The offense occurred when the reigning World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, visited the White House. David Ortiz, the Red Sox’s star hitter, took a seemingly harmless selfie with the President himself. The photo itself, which was retweeted over 38,000 times, is not the problem. The problem in question, according to a White House aide, may have caused the “end of all selfies” with the President of the United States. What happened between Ortiz and Obama that fateful afternoon in the White House was later revealed to be another promotional stunt by Samsung. It turns out that Samsung tricked the President into promoting one of its products with the help of Ortiz, who the company secretly paid.

Take a selfie and make a White House staffer smile.

This gross overstep of product placement on Samsung’s part has angered White House officials. While what Samsung did may not have been illegal, it was definitely inappropriate given the situation. While we wait for the controversy to blow over and the ban on presidential selfies to be lifted, we should focus our selfie-taking efforts on other members of the White House staff, which include awesome and under-appreciated people like Press Secretary Jay Carney.


One Comment

  1. BobbyBeans says:

    Interesting article or was this just a clever vehicle to show off that totally awesome picture of you and Jay Carney ? :)

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