Most of the world's companies market their products to the richest part of the world's population. Since these consumers represent a declining share of the marketplace, many multinational corporations have begun to target the world's poor, those with less than $1500 annual disposable income, some five billion consumers who comprise the bottom of the economic pyramid.
Featuring an interview with C.K. Prahalad, Professor of Corporate Strategy at the University of Michigan and author of the global best-seller, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, THE LA$T MARKET explains how the world's poor, who collectively have enormous buying power, represent an untapped engine of global economic growth. By developing new business models, corporations can democratize commerce, not only reaching underserved markets but also helping millions to escape poverty.
THE LA$T MARKET focuses on the Dutch multinational corporation, Philips, and its efforts to develop one of the world's largest emerging markets in India with new products, including an inexpensive woodstove and a battery-charged lamp. The Philips strategy is illustrated through scenes of its sales representatives in the field and NGOs enlisted in their marketing outreach, plus interviews with the CEO and Marketing Manager of Philips India and purchasers and potential customers for the new products.
The film explores the pros and cons of strategies to market to the poor, questioning whether it is truly possible for corporations such as Philips to revamp capitalism so that it works for everyone. Can the bottom of the pyramid be mobilized? Can poverty be fought with profitability? Is this a true win-win situation or merely a neocolonial strategy in disguise?
2007 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam