Oops, Samsung Did It Again!

For all of the newness of what used to be called new media -- from Vine videos to hashtags -- this week proved that marketers have held on to one time-honored tradition no matter how digital they’ve become: not knowing when to stop.

Case in point: this week's Samsung selfie, shot by Red Sox designated hitter and occasional first baseman David Ortiz, who turned a picture of himself with President Obama into a commercial enterprise. The selfie happened -- in case you missed it --  during the World Series champ's traditional appearance at the White House, and, according to Ortiz anyway, was spontaneous. Even though he is a Samsung social media ambassador, it certainly looked spur-of-the-moment, even if everyone in social marketing knows that somewhere, a social media SWAT team was at the ready, trying to duplicate the impact of Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie, also sponsored by Samsung. And retweet the selfie Samsung did.

Now that we know what we know, I'm wondering why, while everyone was at it, there wasn’t a camera trained on Dustin Pedroia proclaiming that he was going straight from the White House to Disneyland. Or would the ceremony have been better if the Red Sox jersey that Ortiz gave the President had showcased the Majestic logo? And, by the way, what designer was behind Jonny Gomes' stars-and-stripes jacket? 

But there's a time and a place for everything, and it’s clear this was one time not to go tweet-happy. Even if you forget, for a moment, the legal issues surrounding using the President's likeness in your ad campaign, there was another bit of probably unexpected context that should not have been overlooked. For all of its occasional lightheartedness -- quips about the Red Sox's now-mostly absent beards, for instance -- the 10-minute ceremony also pegged the World Series championship as a key component in the comeback of the city from the Boston Marathon bombings. Go watch the video and you will see what I mean.

I'm sure there are people who thought that angle was overplayed, but it was there nonetheless. And while it certainly isn't Ortiz's job to show restraint -- the “Big in “Big Papi” seems as much about his personality as his size -- you would hope that a major marketer’s brand newsroom would start assessing the situation and deciding, in real-time, to stand down. Let Ortiz tweet his selfie to his followers and leave it at that.



It's one thing for Samsung to respond on Twitter if someone asks about what kind of phone Ortiz used to take the picture. It's entirely another to pounce on retweeting it like it was a fastball down the middle with bases loaded and the score tied in the bottom of the ninth. If you're a benchwarmer -- and let's face it, in the big content sweepstakes, most brands are -- sometimes it's better to settle for the walk. 

2 comments about "Oops, Samsung Did It Again!".
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  1. Larry steven Londre from Londre Marketing Consultants, LLC and USC, April 5, 2014 at 2:57 p.m.

    It was just last November when Oxford Dictionaries editors named “selfie” their international "Word of the Year." At the White House, it seemed that Ortiz took a selfie with the President as a candid event. At the Oscars with host Ellen DeGeneres and/or Bradley Cooper who took a group selfie. I'd put them both under "Promotion" and "Events and Experiences," plus "Ambush Marketing or Advertising," with the 9P's of Marketing.

    Samsung’s smart phone was integrated into Oscars show, while Samsung spent an estimated $20 million on ads in the Academy Awards. Samsung got much, more promotional mileage from the stunts of Ellen DeGeneres during the show.

    At least one if not two of the product placement plugs was planned. ABC ran a video segment of six young filmmakers touring Disney Studios, using Samsung devices. Now let’s move on to the "selfie" shot which was a different. During her rehearsals Samsung execs trained Ellen.
    From the history of TV, commercials and sponsors having products appear in a program has been there. The networks do usually reserve product placement for big time advertisers.
    Coke really scored with the pizza boxes from the pizza eating stunt from Big Mama’s and Papa’s pizzeria. Unfortunately Pepsi was the sponsor of soft drinks and water category. Did you even see the Pepsi 60-second spot on its mini cans? It seems no one remembers the spot.

    Get two free liters of Coke with first online order at Big Mama’s & Papa’s. Great exposure for the pizza restaurant and Coke. A 30-second spot costs approx. $1.9 Million and that does not include the production costs and fees for actors, sets, equipment, advertising agencies, directors, crew and other personnel. Coca-Cola was the Academy Awards' exclusive sponsor for the past seven years, before Pepsi took over this year. Coke surely stole some of Pepsi’s exclusivity and thunder on Sunday night's broadcast of the Academy Awards on ABC. I teach the 9P's of Marketing. The students put Sponsorships fall under "Promotion" and "Presentation," in the Nine P's of Marketing.

    Unfortunately this year Pepsi replaced Coca-Cola as the exclusive soft-drink sponsor, but it was Coca-Cola logos on three pizza boxes delivered to the show. You or I could say "Stole some of the show."

    Go to Big Mama's & Papa's web site; there's a photo of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie eating their BMAPP pizza on the home page. You'll learn that with 20 locations. Big Mama's & Big Papa's Pizzeria is a Coca-Cola customer.

    The Nine P's/9P's help identify marketing problems in a number of areas and help develop marketing’s objectives, strategies, tactics and solutions. The Nine P's are insightful. In Marketing. the "Customer," or potential customers are king, but are missing in the 4P's. There needs to be more focus on the "Customer," or "People." "People," market segments utilizing demographics, geographics, psychographics , behavioral characteristics and technographics are a vital component of the 9P's.

  2. Michael E. Keenan from Keenan & Company, April 5, 2014 at 5:02 p.m.

    Earned is earned...

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