The White House frowns on using the president's image to promote products.
The selfie that President Obama took with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz last week may be his last. The president posed for the image with "Big Papi" all in good fun at a White House event celebrating the Red Sox's 2013 World Series win. What he didn't know was that Samsung, which has an endorsement deal with Ortiz, would retweet the image the slugger posted on Twitter to its 5.2 million followers.
“Well, [Obama] obviously didn’t know anything about Samsung’s connection to this,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said on CBS News' Face of the Nation Sunday morning. “And, perhaps, maybe this will be the end of all selfies. But in general, whenever someone tries to use the president’s likeness to promote a product, that’s a problem with the White House Counsel.”
Ortiz says he simply took advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity, but insists there was no marketing malice aforethought.
“That was one of those things that just happened,” Ortiz told the Boston Globe following news reports that it was a pre-planned marketing stunt “I gave [Obama] the jersey, and the photographers were going to take their pictures and I thought, really at the last second, maybe I should snap a shot with my phone while I have the chance."
Samsung also is pleading innocence.
"When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans," the company told the Globe. "We didn't know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device."
According Pfeiffer, White House officials have expressed their displeasure to Samsung, but he declined to offer any details.
"We'll leave that conversation between the lawyers," he said.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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(Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo, File)