Egypt Presidential Election, 2014: the Campaigns - Abd El Fattah El Sisi
"Long live Egypt!"
"Long live Egypt!"
Egypt is eternal, it shall live for as long as the world exists, it shall live whether Sisi is president or not. These three words are in the heart of every Egyptian, they've been said in the hardest of times and the happiest of times. The question here is what do these words have to do with Sisi being president, what do they say about him, or about the campaign? The truth is that they say nothing! The campaigners have chosen a phrase that when heard would strengthen the sense of belonging for Egyptians, a way to confuse the sense of belonging to Egypt with one for the man of the military, "the June 30 Revolution leader". I have to say though that the campaigners are not the ones to be blamed; they're working with no presidential program, or even real headlines how can they come up with a slogan for something that is simply nonexistent?
This campaign has many posters, this one is the most popular and the one found on billboards and on the website's homepage. The poster is simple and elegant, in fact they're all are. The main problem with this one is the dreamy look he has on his face, the fact that he's not facing the camera has never seemed to be an appealing choice for a presidential campaign. For Sisi specifically this look is not at all the right choice; he keeps talking about how he can do nothing for us and that we're in a big problem and we have to work hard and compromise to pass this. He does not seem to have put any space for dreaming in his speeches or plans, so why the dreamy look?
The rest of the posters seem to have been taken in an high end compound. While Sabahy chose to promote himself as one of us, Sisi decided to go for "the elite man who knows it all". In fact this also appeals to the tastes of many; those who don't want someone whom they might meet in the metro to rule them, but want a man of the state, a wise man who has a social and political magnitude.
The TV commercial that does not seem to be found online anywhere is shot by high-end cameras and with a director who has a really good eye, yet again it says nothing. The commercial revolves around the slogan and Egypt and the revolution in general. It says that everyone has to work in order to achieve the dream of a better Egypt, which is the only good point about the commercial, but this idea is cut short with no program to tell the viewer which plan they're supposed to work hard under. It seems to have costed them a fortune to make this relatively long commercial, nevertheless the whole campaign is meaningless without a presidential program.
This commercial is the smaller one, and it's no different. Using Sisi's voice is a good idea, even if the words are taken from a previous speech (which I'm not sure if they were). Again, it does not say much.
The website seems to be very highly secured; does this have to do with Sisi being the former head of Military Intelligence?
Although Sisi's website can clearly be seen as a website which was well spent on, using it was slightly confusing for me. Yet just like his rival's website, it contains all the needed information, it even had an empty page for the nonexistent presidential program at some point. The website is full of videos, speeches, what was written or said about Sisi in the news, downloadable posters and banners, a biography about Sisi, a Contact Us page, and other things. What is also worth mentioning is that the website does not include the bank information for donations, apparently this campaign is very rich and does not need any donations.
If compared with Sabahy's campaign, this one is way richer and have a wider reach; billboards are seen in the streets although not in large numbers and the commercial is aired almost everyday on the most popular TV channels in Egypt. But if this campaign is compared to one of 2012's campaigns, Abo El Fotooh's or Moussa's for example, it is definitely a much smaller one. It seems that Sisi is sure of winning and does not feel the need to do a large campaign.
According to Tarek Nour, Sisi's advertising advisor, the campaign has spent only L.E. 12 million out of the allowed amount of L.E. 20 million. Nour explains that the campaign spent L.E. 6 million on press conferences and same amount on outreach material. On another note, Nour said that Sisi in fact has a presidential campaign, but that it is "heavy with details and will need a year for it to be explained to citizens"
What Sisi adds with the use of money he loses with his lack of mobility. Sisi spends his days in one of the military owned elite hotels that was refurbished especially for him, and instead of going out to meet the people, his campaign leaders choose him people who would not say anything that he can't answer and they meet in the hotel behind closed doors. Even his two interviews were recorded inside the same hotel. Electoral conferences are held by supporters and campaign leaders like Mahmoud Badr of Tamarod, but Sisi is never there. It's been said that the reason behind this is his security. What is also worth mentioning is that when Sisi felt the need to attend one of the electoral conferences he did so, using a video conference.