Playing Wal-Marts Game and changing advertising

What do you do when a company like Wal-Mart changes the playing field and plays the reverse auction game with manufacturing? It makes being in manufacturing kind of pointless. At least traditional manufacturing. But what if you….

Why hasn’t low end manufacturing followed the same business model the net does, that print does, that TV does? Most things internet, print and TV are “free” – supported by advertising.

With China’s manufacturing costs, wouldn’t this model work for most “cheap” items? And don’t most “cheap” items make up the majority of products we buy?

When I buy a toothbrush, disposable razor, milk, garbage bags, zip lock bags, envelopes, etc. I’m paying next to nothing for these products. The only money anyone’s making on these products is on the markup – which is probably higher than 30%. The cost of packaging and advertising these products is almost definitely higher than or equal to the product itself. Yet – what do I see on these products? Well, Milk (and some other products, to a certain degree) has caught on – they advertise – but I still have to pay. But most products, advertise themselves. Isn’t that kind of stupid? I just bought Zip Lock bags – so why are have you plastered Zip-Lock all over your packaging. Couldn’t you more-or-less give me that product by plastering someone else’s ad all over it?

It seems like these products could just be advertising platforms and be free for the consumer. This works on the net, more or less in print, and even on high ticket items like cell-phones (the iPhone supposedly will be one of the first cell phone models to launch without lucrative carrier tie ins such as “free phone with 2 year contract”).

Or at least free to the retailers. You, as a manufacturer move into advertising. You organize advertising campaigns and match them to manufacturing and give the products away to Wal-Mart and the likes. Wal-Mart charges some nominal fee (or nothing) to draw customers in, just like they’re doing now with their opening-price-point strategy. Hell – given the way Wal-Mart works it wouldn’t surprise me if they started charging you to carry your products.

This would open a fairly (hard to find) targeted advertising niche that’s becoming increasingly difficult (and pointless) to find/afford on television (besides, TV advertising (in the form of the 30 second spot) is dead, it has no future, good riddance).

Would this work?