The viral selfie that Boston Red Sox star took on Tuesday when the World Series champs visited with U.S. President Barack Obama was more than social media fodder -- it was also part of a Samsung marketing campaign, it was revealed by CBS on Thursday.
Ortiz took a selfie with the president at a White House event using a Samsung phone and tweeted it to his followers on Tuesday. It was retweeted tens of thousands of times, with the kicker being that Samsung retweeted the photo as an ad. In a tweet, the company added that the photo was taken with a Samsung phone.
On Wednesday, Ortiz admitted he has a deal in place with Samsung, but denied that the photo with the president was "set up." He said:
It wasn’t anything promotional or anything like that.
I mean who knows that you’re going to take a picture with the president, a selfie. You know what I’m saying? How many people can guarantee that?
At the same time, it seems there were hopes that Ortiz could pull of soemthing. CBS News said that Samsung named Ortiz a social media insider and coached him prior to his White House visit.
In a statement, Samsung said
It was an honor to help him (Ortiz) capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement.
The White House was not pleased with the commercial use of the selfie. CBS Mark Knoller tweeted:
WH says it routinely objects to use of Pres Obama's image in ads/commercials and does so in current case of David Ortiz selfie for Samsung.
However, the White House has not any public requests to take down the tweets.
According to CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante, they don’t want to appear “heavy handed.”