A visual aid can help make a PR message easy, but Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming in for some sniping following his presentation to the United Nations last week. His now infamous and widely broadcast graphic cartoon of a bomb, broadcast while delivering his speech to the UN General Assembly, has provoked some confusing reactions – among them, from his home state of Israel, no less.
The graphic made headlines globally, leaving Iranian President Ahmadinejad of Iran cooling his heels. The bomb cartoon was divided into segments; 70 percent and 90 percent, representing the advances Iran is making towards nuclear armament. The red line, drawn by Netanyahu as he was speaking, indicated that by next summer, Iran would be 90 percent complete. Simple enough?
Not so fast! There was some confusion as the Israeli media incorrectly reported the Prime Minister was referring to actual percentages of uranium enrichment. This was BIG news, given the general consensus is that Iran has reached a level of uranium enrichment of only 20 percent. The Israeli press reported that Netanyahu was announcing that enrichment was far more advanced than previously indicated. He seemed to be saying that enrichment is now 70 percent and getting close to 90 percent. Panic buttons were pressed: The threat is more imminent than previously thought. Trouble is, that’s not what Netanyahu was saying.
The PR Verdict: “D” (PR problematic) for Netanyahu’s use of simple props. Rather than illustrating a point unequivocally, confusion increased.
The PR Takeaway: Keep your message simple, yes, but avoid confusion. The Israelis stole the show in letting the world know how they saw the Iranian threat. The problem with the cartoon graphic was that its message wasn’t entirely clear and couldn’t stand alone without explanation. Next time, opt for a little more complication and ask the question, Does this make sense without any accompanying words? After all, the point of any simple graphic is to express an idea clearly and eliminate ambiguity, not create it.
What did you think of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s graphic? Give us your PR Verdict!