Has Samsung Pushed “Selfies” over the Cliff?

Interesting question.  As I read Publicis’ CEO Maurice Levy’s comments about two infamous selfies, The Oscars and Ellen DeGeneres and The White House with President Obama and Boston Red Sox player David Ortiz I am beginning to think this might be a good thing taken too far.  Mr. Levy values the Oscar selfie at $1,000,000,000 in value based on the social media views which were roughly the same as the total global viewership (37 mil vs 43 mil).

The Oscars’ selfie which featured Ms. DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Kevin Spacey, to name a few, was blasted worldwide and apparently orchestrated by Publicis for their client Samsung, according to Mr. Levy.  Is this taking what seemed like an “authentic” moment and cheapening it?  That sure seems to be the opinion in the blogosphere.  I’m reading comment after comment of angry people thinking Samsung was manipulating people into thinking that this paid product placement was somehow real.  And just as the hardcore purists are screaming at the top of their social media lungs, along comes World Series Champion David Ortiz showing up at the White House as most sports champions from the major sporting leagues do to take their victory lap at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, AKA The People’s House!

So when it was reported that Samsung via Mr. Levy’s agency paid “Big Poppi” to snap a picture with the President of the free World only to have it turn into a Samsung social media ploy, even the most callous business zealots have to question if Samsung has gone too far and ruined these authentic moments from behind the scenes of events that your average person can’t attend and now will be shut down because the President and his associates feel that is was in bad taste for Ortiz, Publicis and Samsung to unknowingly use them in a social media campaign.  Good for the White House and the President.  I thought the rain coat company that used his image was bad.  But in many ways I see this as a much worse and egregious violation of a moment in time which fans of the Red Sox or Big Poppi will never get again.

So we grow up, no matter how old we are, to learn new things in this wild west of Social media.  I am not one of those people that yearn for yesterday.  I just hope that all marketers and PR experts look at these two executions and learn that you might win the battle but ultimately the public loses the war!