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.”