I’ve often wondered where I would go if I was in the market for thousands of yellow rubber ducks. I certainly wouldn’t have expected to find inspiration watching television.
How wrong could I be? As part of its global advertising campaign, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba
has brought the world of purchasing and supply to living rooms everywhere.
Its TV advert
says this online trading platform connects millions of buyers and suppliers worldwide. It enables the man on the street - looking to bulk buy or sell - to find what he needs via the internet. The company’s aim is to expand its market outside China and attract more international customers.
The move may also give ordinary people a glimpse into what buyers and suppliers do on a day-to-basis – which could help raise the profile of the profession.
Procurement has sometimes struggled to compete with boardroom big boys when it comes to recognition of the function’s importance to a business. Does a humble TV commercial have the power to change all that? It could certainly get people interested in – maybe even excited about – purchasing and supply. Anyone who has ever bought something from eBay knows how easy it is to catch the online buying bug.
But perhaps it could give a false impression of the profession. Buying from Alibaba.com takes just three simple steps – “search products, check results, contact suppliers”. If only it was that easy in real life.