Recently the World Champion Boston Red Sox visited the White House to meet the president which has been a White House tradition Since early/mid 20th Century for amateur and professional athletes who reach the pinnacle of their sport. It seemed the event went as per normal, the team met the President, he gave a speech with a few corny jokes mixed in and they tooksome photos. One of those photos was a selfie taken by Red Sox Star David Ortiz of Himself the president and the team. Innocent enough, the selfie has become part of our everyday lives it was the word of the year last year, Obama took a selfie with other world leaders at the Funeral for Nelson Mandela, and Ellen DeGeneres Selfie at the Oscars this year was the most re tweeted photo in history.
The story took a turn when it was later revealed that Ortiz had recently signed an endorsement dealwith Samsung and the selfie was a PR stunt to promote the new Samsung handset that is coming out soon. Suffice to say the White House wasn’t pleased when they found out about the stunt, they’ve since reached out to executives at Samsung to express their displeasure and have unofficially banned selfies with the Commander in Chief moving forward.
As far as PR moves go the stunt worked, the photo was one of the most re-tweeted last week and a number of publications have covered it and obviouslyI’m writing about it, but I wonder if it goes too far is this shameless plug actually shameful?
There’s somethingto be said about selling moments that are supposed to be sacred for profit. For Ortiz meeting the president after winning the championship is as I mentioned supposed to be a sacred tradition something that marks the ultimate achievement in your field of work but he sold it to a corporation. And Ortiz in his tweet claimed that it was an honor to meet the President and the fact that he let him take a selfie with him. If it was such an honor why was it for sale?
Ortiz is a hall of famer, multiple championships, has made a lot of money in his career what was the motivation. Obviously the motivation was money but wasn’t this moment meeting the leader of the free world trump being a corporate spokesperson.Samsung will sell plenty of phones this year, Ortiz will hit home runs and maybe lead his team to another championship both of those things would have happened without this stunt.
I think as we go deeper into the selfie, shameless plugging, ultra informed, intrusive,super instant hyper connected age we’ll have to draw new lines in the sand about moments that are sacred and aren't for sale.