Egypt’s constitution campaign poster: a PR disaster?

Egypt's constituent assembly Chairman Amr Moussa (C) sits at a news conference. Behind him a poster riddled with mistakes. (Reuters)

In an embarrassing disclosure, Egypt has apologized for a banner promoting the new constitution that misspelt the word “Egyptians” and carried images of foreigners instead of locals.

The poster came as a humiliating gaffe for the government, currently trying to rally support for the charter, and the blunder was picked up by international press.

In a statement received on Tuesday, the State Information Service (SIS) apologized for the misspelling but did not mention the controversy over the nationalities of the people portrayed in the banner.

“The SIS formally apologizes for the error found in the banner... (It) was delivered hours before the conference began as a donation by a non-governmental organization promoting the constitutional draft,” the SIS said.

Three out of five of the people pictured in the banner were not Egyptian, local media sources and social media users revealed on Monday.

One of the women pictured, dressed in a suit, has turned out to be a stock picture licensed for free use by the Getty picture agency, most recently appearing on an Irish businesswomen’s networking site.

http://www.networkireland.ie/

http://www.networkireland.ie/

Next to the woman, was a man dressed as a doctor who Twitter users revealed to be the same man who appeared in an advertisement for a website registered in Arizona, USA that sells treatments for stretch marks.

http://www.ehowtogetridofstretchmarks.com/

http://www.ehowtogetridofstretchmarks.com/

There was also a picture of another man, which is currently used by AZ Business Magazine – also registered in Arizona, USA – in an article about people with down syndrome, the local Ahram Online news site reported.

http://aznow.biz

http://aznow.biz

The campaign banner appeared at a press conference attended by Amr Moussa, the chairman of the 50-member panel that drafted Egypt’s constitution.

There were also issues with the images of those believed to be Egyptian in the banner.

"The photo of an Egyptian soldier on the far right of the banner was taken during the first 18 days of the 2011 uprising by Ahram Online reporter Rowan el-Shimi. It was used without her permission. The photo was posted on the writer's blog in February, 2011,” reported Ahram Online.

“There's a very funny contradiction with Egyptians,” Ahmed Emad, an Egyptian advertising professional and blogger, told Al Arabiya News.

“We generally pick up on the little details, make fun of them and have a huge wave of sarcasm that follows, yet at the same time, when creating something from scratch; we tend to be sloppy with absolute no attention to detail.

“This was no exception,” Emad added.

There were also issues with the images of those believed to be Egyptian in the banner.

"The photo of an Egyptian soldier on the far right of the banner was taken during the first 18 days of the 2011 uprising by Ahram Online reporter Rowan el-Shimi. It was used without her permission. The photo was posted on the writer's blog in February, 2011,” reported Ahram Online.

There is also a spelling error in the word “Egyptians” written in Arabic above the people pictured.

"The word "Egyptians" in Arabic (Misreyeen) – placed above the photos on the huge banner – is misspelt. Instead, missing one letter, the banner uses the Arabic word for "determined" (Mosireen),” the news site reported.

A referendum on Egypt's draft constitution will be held on Jan. 14-15, Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour announced on Saturday.

‘Sorry’ seems to be the easiest word?

“An apology [from the SIS] won’t change anything. This is a mistake which appeared at an event concerning one of the most important documents to the Egyptian people,” Dr. Samir Mahmoud, an Egyptian Professor of Media Studies currently based in Oman told Al Arabiya News.

“The SIS is trying to place blame on the NGO, but they’re the ones who should take responsibility, after all they gave the NGO the authority to write this banner.

“It brought back recent concerns in Egypt about grammatical errors in the draft constitution.”

Controversy arose last week when the interim president reportedly met with his consultants to discuss what he saw as “mistakes” in the draft charter awaiting to be put to a national vote, sources told an Egyptian daily newspaper.

According to the privately-owned Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm, Adly discussed with his presidential office consultants what he saw as errors in the wording of the draft.

Although it was not made clear what the “mistakes” were, the head of the constitutional panel Amr Moussa came out to defend the draft charter a few days later and the referendum date was set.

The new constitution will be the first step in the army's political transition plan that should conclude with parliamentary and presidential elections next year.
 

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
Top