Facebook offers cheap polls

If you want to do a quick and cheap poll to see what 200 people think about something, you can add a tool, imaginatively called Polls to your Facebook page which allows you to ask some multiple choice questions, each of which will get up to 200 responses and each of which will cost up to $51. You can select age groups for your poll and to some degree demographics. It’s hardly the most advanced tool in the world but it’s pretty good. I just put out the question: “who does the best PR?” offering Cisco, Dell, Apple, Microsoft and Google as possible answers. On the day that Apple is launching the iPhone it is perhaps not surprising that Apple is so far in the lead with 38% of the vote. Dell is currently last with 0%. The tool is hardly perfect – in fact I tried to offer IBM as a potential answer in my poll and it said this answer had too many capitals, so I chose Dell rather than write ibm. Anyway – this maybe useful for PR folk out there doing pitches or when they want to give a client a more calibrated view on a subject.

More bad news for advertising

The FT has just posted this article. Hot on the heels of the ban on billboards in Beijing come these moves in the UK.

Spread the word about the benefits of advertising
By Jamie Whyte
Published: June 26 2007 18:31 Last updated: June 26 2007 18:31
Advertising is unpopular with those concerned for our welfare. They see it as a kind of  coercion, making us “want things we do not really need” and, sometimes, things that are positively bad for us. Ban the ad, they demand.
Modern regulators are happy to oblige them. On Sunday, two moves to tighten up on advertising junk food to children come into force in the UK. Ofcom, the media regulator, introduces new content rules (including banning the use of celebrities), prior to banning advertising of foods high in fat, sugar or salt during television programmes popular with under-16-year-olds next January. The Committee of Advertising Practice, an industry group, is bringing in similar content rules for press, posters and paid-for internet space.

Beijing Bans Billboards

Jason Leow of the WSJ wrote yesterday about the removal of 90+ billboards on China’s Golden Avenue in a bid by the city sanitize the city’s image. He reports that the crackdown appeared to start on the advertising of luxury homes. Now, he went on, as a part of a massive urban reorganization exercise the advertising ban has been extended across much of Beijing.

This is reminiscent of a similar move in New Delhi a few years ago where thousands of illegal billboards were removed so you could actually see the city. At the time there wasn’t actually that much to see but a lot has changed since and presumably the city planners in Beijing expect their city to continue to evolve and would prefer that billboard proliferation not be a part of the outlook.

This of course poses a huge headache for brands that relied on these billboards to get their messages across, however unsubtly. So as the city tries to prevent itself from being one giant Times Square or Piccadilly Circus it will be interesting to see where those ad dollars go that would have promoted all those luxury cars and condos. I suspect the ad agencies will have some ideas on how to spend the money but maybe some PR execs should be putting their thinking caps on too.

Apple’s $3Bn Battery

Apple’s market capitalization increased $3Bn today on the news that it had improved the battery life of its soon to be launched iPhone. They also said the screen would be glass rather than plastic. My assumption is that the latter didn’t affect the stock as much as the former. Either way it seems that investors are betting big time on the iPhone and assume that any small improvement will have a big impact on sales. That said, today’s rise in Apple’s value is stunning. If you assume that all the people who will now buy the iPhone because its battery life is a bit longer buy the more expensive model then to generate $3Bn in additional value in one year you would need to sell an ADDITIONAL 400,000 phones by my calculations (I’ve made some basic assumptions on how much after tax is earned from each phone sold). That’s about a 1000 EXTRA phones (that cost $699) a day just to support today’s rise in stock value. Of course it could be that the market is only just getting its head around the fact that Apple is going to be a big player in the phone market alongside Motorola and Nokia. But remind me, how may phones a day do they sell that cost $699?