Branded media plays us for suckers… again

Maybe there no longer is such a thing as spontaneity in the world. Maybe every documented bit of kindness, every cute scene, every bit of wonderful whimsy is nothing but the detritus of Mad Men.

That video a month or so ago about strangers kissing? It turned out to be an ad that merely played us for suckers.

And this week were were suckers again when we bought — again — into the phony legend of David Ortiz, just a regular guy who wanted a selfie with the president of the United States. Oh, for cute!

It was part of a Samsung promotion.

“Tacky,” Joshua Green at Businessweek writes today. And he’s a Red Sox fan.

Duping the president of the United States into participating with your social media campaign has to be a new low for advertising. It’s flat-out shady. And Ortiz should be embarrassed. That’s a Yankee move. I don’t know what sort of phone the president is carrying in his pocket these days. But if I were him, I’d go shoot a selfie on a new iPhone (AAPL).

Asked about it last night, Ortiz stayed in character.

“I signed a deal with Samsung a couple of months ago and they supply me with phones and all that stuff. The photo with the President was a once in a lifetime moment. How did I know he would let me take a picture with him?” he said.

Let’s just stop calling it “social media” and call it what the it is: “branded media.”

  • kevinfromminneapolis
  • MrE85

    You and I represent a brand, too, but at least we are transparent about it.

    • “Branding” is basically a lot of nonsense.

  • Gary F

    After seeing President Obama throw out the first pitch a few times, I don’t know if I’d want to have my picture taken with him if I were a baseball player. For a guy who is in pretty good shape, playing basketball and golf, and can’t get the ball to the catcher is a shame.

      • Gary F

        OMG, brutal.

        Man it sucks getting old.

        If I ever get asked to throw out a first pitch, no matter how old I am. I will practice the day before.

        • I threw out first pitch at a Saints game once (so did 7 others). Franken was there, brought an aide with a glove and he warmed up in the bullpen. I think he bounced the ball. I had a rotator cuff inflammation at the time. I threw a strike; a soft strike. But a strike.

  • jon

    OMG! A sports player using equipment they are just given for free?

    Next you are going to tell me that Michael Jordan wore Nikes, and hanes underwear… or that Jared the subway guy got free sandwiches from subway and ate them in public!

    to call social media “Branded Media” wouldn’t differentiate it from “traditional media” where I have to hear about what type of minivan people on TV shows drive, or see that everyone is drinking the same brand of cola throughout a series…

  • Dave

    Proud to say I never watched that kissing video. Seemed like the very worst form of click bait. And now we find out it’s not legit? Shocker.

  • BReynolds33

    As someone who works in this field, I appreciate the kissing video and the selfie with the President for what they are. Successful ad campaigns. You’re all welcome for the ads on Facebook, too. We’re coming for your Twitter feeds, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram, too.

    [Insert maniacal laugh here.]

    • kevinfromminneapolis

      I work in it as well, but I don’t appreciate being led to believe something is “genuine” when in fact it is a promotion. It feels like I’m being lied to.

      • BReynolds33

        You say “lied to,” we say “emotionally marketed to.”

        In all seriousness, it is a low form of marketing, but it works. People believe what they want to believe, and open themselves up to marketing. The more real it feels, the better the marketers did at playing the emotions.

  • “the phony legend of David Ortiz”

    heh heh, phone–y, I see what you did there