Diamond campaign makes a declaration

“This Christmas, make a declaration.” So exhorts the Diamond Promotion Service/Diamond Trading Company’s fall diamond jewelry advertising campaign. Building on previous themes, the campaign focuses on three areas of diamond jewelry marketing: the “Past, Present, and Future” three-stone jewelry campaign; the “statement diamond” campaign; and fancy-shape diamonds.

This is a challenging Christmas season, says Seth Grossman, director of market planning for J. Walter Thompson, DTC’s advertising agency. While holiday acquisition rates of diamond jewelry have jumped 26% by volume over the past five years, the 2002 holiday selling season is a week shorter than usual, with only three weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The overriding theme for the fall campaign is “Make a Declaration [of love].” It was developed after DPS and JWT examined both diamond jewelry sales trends and the American psyche as it moved from the exuberance of the millennium to the somber days of post-Sept. 11. Though permanently wary of terrorism and still mired in economic and social uncertainty, Americans are nonetheless ready to move on.

“Most cultures and religions use the one-year anniversary as a marker to end a mourning period,” says Brandee Dallow, account supervisor at the Diamond Information Center. “It seems as though America, and New York and Washington in particular, were holding their breath [until then], but by looking at [articles in] the general media, we can see that America has moved from shock and grief toward determination, hope, and rebuilding.”

The “Declaration” theme is designed to do exactly that. After the 9/11 attacks, JWT immediately scrapped its 2001 holiday advertising copy to find a message more appropriate to the nation’s somber mood. The resulting “Hands” television spot shows no product but focuses on an elderly couple holding hands and a young couple inspired by them to take each other’s hand. “Hands” will still be part of the TV rotation for 2002, but Grossman doesn’t think it has quite enough urgency to convey the diamond jewelry message this year. “It’s time to make a declaration, both as a nation, and to those we love,” he says.

The campaign will incorporate JWT’s now-famous humorous bold black-and-white print ads, with such drivers as “Make a Declaration of Dependence,” or “It’s Like Saying ‘I Love You’ Through a Megaphone With the Volume Turned Up to 11.” There is also a new television spot—the first in years with voices—titled “Venice.” Shot in St. Mark’s Square, it focuses on a young man shouting to passersby and pigeons alike, “I love this woman!” and presenting her with diamond jewelry.

The “statement diamonds” idea will also help jewelers gain incremental dollars from holiday sales, say Dallow and Grossman. Diamond jewelry is no longer perceived as a gift just for the affluent, but there remains a price distribution gap in sales. The bulk of diamond jewelry units sold are under $500 (accounting for 26% of the value of all diamond jewelry sold), while 56% of the value of all diamond jewelry sold (but only 12% of units) comes from pieces costing more than $1,000. The “statement” idea won’t push an under-$500 customer to the over-$1,000 category but might help jewelers drive a $199 purchase to $399, or a $599 purchase to $799, says Dallow.

Other holiday advertising plans include an edgy photography campaign focusing on fancy-shaped diamonds. Shadowed, naked couples embracing depict the various shapes of diamonds. “Design drives desire, and this campaign seeks to take customers out of the usual realm of how they view diamonds,” says Dallow. There is also a push to drive customers to the Design Gallery of the www.adiamondisforever.com Web site.

The final element is a continuation of the “past, present, and future” three-stone jewelry campaign—again, says Grossman, tapping into the emotional reasons for giving diamond jewelry.

Retailers will benefit from the fall 2002 campaign in a number of ways. “We’re giving the retailers the tools, and we’re working with them hand in hand,” says Dallow. More free marketing materials, such as counter cards and ad slicks, are available to retailers, and these can be personalized. Retailers also can download pictures of the pieces and copy lines used in the campaigns.