Do you have favorite brands or favorite retailers? Do you shop according to price or products? In another marketplace twist, a giant retailer is said to be banking on the idea that if it’s not on their shelves, it is out of sight and therefore out of your mind. And if it’s out of your mind, a brand can disappear from the face of the earth altogether. With that train of thought, shelf-space is valuable and if a brand wants your attention it should pay for your eyeballs. The form of payment under discussion happens to be those precious advertising dollars.
As the thinking goes, instead of each brand taking charge of its media buying, they should all turn over their media dollars and decisions to those who own the shelf-space. It brings to mind an anecdote with two people each bring ingredients to a cooking pot and once the meal is cooked, they begin arguing about who owns the resulting meal. It ends in a chorus about each removing his ingredients from the completed dish. Can’t realistically be done. Or can it?
In today’s world where most of the shelf-space is in the hands of a few big retailers, and customers flock to the bargains, it’s easy for a retailer or two to put the squeeze on brands to pay for ads or disappear. Companies with giant manufacturing facilities who want their products on retailers’ shelves would have to pay up. In effect, the retailer becomes the ad agency. In such a scenario it isn’t hard to imagine that the retailer can then influence the products, deciding on composition, packaging, sizing and pricing. And maybe with this type of thinking the place that we’re heading to is where everything we buy is manufactured, owned and sold by one giant conglomerate. What a concept?