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White House less than impressed over Samsung's Obama-Ortiz selfie stunt

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As the mobile device race heats up, tech firms will take any opportunity they can for free promotion -- and what could be better than getting a country leader in on the act?

A selfie-style photo was taken by Red Sox player David Ortiz with President Barack Obama this week, and was later posted to Twitter.

It may have seemed spontaneous, but Ortiz -- who has an endorsement deal with the tech giant -- provided a promotional moment that must have left Samsung executives rubbing their hands in glee.

While Ortiz, the 2013 World Series MVP, says the photo had nothing to do with the endorsement deal, Samsung quickly retweeted the photograph to millions of followers, writing:

"Big Papi, Big Selfie. RT @DavidOrtiz What an honor! Thanks for the #selfie, @BarackObama"

The South Korean firm also issued a statement, calling the selfie a "historic moment" and noting both the device Ortiz used to take the photo, and that the company had spoken to Ortiz before the visit in how best to use photography for the fans.

This may have delighted Samsung itself and its customers, but the White House is less than impressed. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, press secretary Jay Carney said the government's lawyers object to the commercial use of the image.

"As a rule the White House objects to attempts to use the president's likeness for commercial purposes," Carney said. "And we certainly object in this case."

The Obama Administration may not be happy with the use of the U.S. President in a bit of free promotion for the company, but considering the popularity of selfie-taking, you cannot deny that it isn't great marketing. Even if Samsung stops using the image today, the tweets and subsequent media reports have already finished the job.

Read on: The Wall Street Journal

Image credit: David Ortiz

— By on April 4, 2014, 1:45 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure