Monday, April 06, 2009

Walmart Ad Illustrates Economies of Scale

I saw this Walmart commercial tonight for compact fluorescent light bulbs. Maybe you're already familiar with it -- apparently it's been around for a while.

I'd never seen it though, and was surprised by how perfectly it illustrates the power of dollar voting and economies of scale, which I've discussed before in this blog.

Never mind the kitschy "forest setting" and folksy acting. And hold the debate on bulb-replacement efficacy -- Walmart wants you and me to shop there, no doubt.

It’s about power in numbers. The pink-sweatered hausfrau of today cheerfully explains how not only will changing one bulb save you 40-something-dollars a year, but if all 200 million Walmart customers each changed one bulb, it would be the equivalent of taking 11 million cars off the road. And that's a good thing. (No time to elaborate on how reducing car usage is good because it means less release of CO2 into the atmosphere, etc. but oh well.)

This is a great illustration of economies of scale – the impact of one or two is small, but as the numbers grow the impact grows exponentially.

Of course, this rule applies not only to eco-friendly light bulbs but ALL the stuff they sell. And all the ways they do business, for better and for worse. The more you buy the more you’re part of their impact, positive and negative. Don’t be seduced by the Juno-esque background music.

So. Economies of scale. Dollar voting. Learn it and live it, wherever you shop.

Posted by Amy Shaw for Greenjeans.

No comments: