One of Samsung's brand ambassadors, is being sued by the South Korean company, for about $1.6 million, after she was seen using an iPhone during a TV interview. The brand ambassador in question here is Ksenia Sobchak who is a Russian TV host, journalist and politician, and is reportedly the goddaughter of President Vladimir Putin. Sobchak had a clause in her agreement with Samsung, which she signed, that she cannot be seen in public using anything other than a Samsung smartphone. During a TV interview, Sobchak did try to hide it, by checking it under a piece of paper, but Samsung (and the world) was still able to see it.
Due to Sobchak violating this clause in her contract, Samsung is now suing her for around 108 million rubles, which is equivalent to around $1.6 million USD. This isn't the first time that Sobchak has appeared in Russia using an iOS device, in fact she has appeared at numerous events in Moscow using an iOS device in the past, and even as recently as a couple of days ago. Those in Moscow weren't able to specify which particular iPhone it was, but it was clearly an iPhone and not a Samsung smartphone. But this time, being on Russian State TV, she got caught by Samsung and the company is now looking to make things right. You can see Sobchak attempting to check her phone in the video down below, and see that it is clearly an iPhone X. The contract from Samsung didn't say that she could not use an iPhone X, just that she could not use an iPhone X or anything that's not a Samsung phone, in public. Considering she is a brand ambassador for Samsung, this makes perfect sense, and it appears that after years of others getting away with violating this clause, Samsung is taking her to court.
Background: Just about every smartphone maker, and really just about every tech company, has a group of brand ambassadors. It's an easy way for the company to use well-known people to promote their products. Whether that's on social media, at public events or even in commercials. In fact, this whole trend really started with the NBA and other sports leagues, where companies like Nike, Adidas, Jordan and Under Armour all use athletes to market their products. For instance, Under Armour uses athletes like Steph Curry and Dwayne Johnson to promote their products, and you never see them wearing another brand (like Nike or Adidas). In fact, you'll see Dwayne Johnson wearing Under Armour in some of his movies – like the Fast and Furious franchise. And it should be the same for smartphones, but it's not. In fact, it's almost the polar opposite, which is unfortunate, and it's something that needs to change. Maybe a few cases like this one will help change things up a bit so that brand ambassadors do take their job a bit more seriously.
Pretty much anytime a new smartphone is announced, and a brand ambassador tweets about it, or posts about it on social media, it is typically found out that it was from an iPhone. Typically, you'll find on Twitter that it will be sent from "Twitter for iPhone" or "Twitter for iOS". Now that is pretty hard to find, as you need to install a third-party Twitter app to find that information – it's not part of the main Twitter app or website anymore. But it is pretty funny when it happens. Other times, you'll see the iPhone in the picture, usually through a reflection. For example, with Huawei, it was touting that it's camera was really good on one of its smartphones, but in a "behind-the-scenes" shot that was shared, it was actually a DSLR being used to take the photos and the person was using an iPhone to make it look like they were taking a selfie. So yeah, this looks bad for Samsung and Sobchak, but it is not the first time this has happened. But it looks like Samsung is going to make an example out of her.
Impact: Just because Samsung is suing Sobchak for using an iPhone on TV, doesn't mean that she will have to pay up, or that the Judge will rule in her favor. But it's pretty clear that she won't be a brand ambassador much longer (depending on how long is left in her contract). This is going to be an interesting case for whichever judge does get to hear this case – likely in Moscow. It does seem pretty simple on paper, as Sobchak did violate a clause in her contract, but the judge may still get a laugh or two out of this. Seeing as she is being sued for using a non-Samsung smartphone. Of course, we'll have to wait and see how this plays out. It's also important to remember here that Sobchak is reportedly (not confirmed yet) to be President Putin's goddaughter, which could likely get Sobchak out of this lawsuit by Samsung. So it'll be real interesting to see how this works out in the coming months. So far, there is no word on when the case will be hard or if it will be heard.
Samsung gets different brand ambassadors throughout the world, usually with a brand ambassador that is popular in each region. Sobchak is popular in Russia since she is on TV as a journalist, host and politician. But she is also known as the "Russian Paris Hilton" because she is such a party girl. Likely making her pretty popular with those that are in the younger generation, a generation that Samsung is looking to target and get more customers from. Sobchak did run against President Putin in the recent presidential election, but as we all know, she did not beat Putin. Sobchak nor her people have responded to this subject of her using an iPhone X in public. This is likely because they need to stay quiet as anything they say could be used against them, since they have been served with paperwork from Samsung already.