Christmas 2007: What Went Wrong?

  

It was a lousy Christmas, I think we can all agree. Obviously, lower consumer spending had a huge impact. But jewelry seems to have taken a bigger hit than other industries. It’s rarely cited as among the season’s best sellers.

 

Why? Well here are my theories:

 

-         Lack of exciting product. My editor Hedda often talks about this: Rarely do consumers say: “My friend has the greatest jewelry piece. I need one like it.”  You hear talk like that about shoes and handbags, but not diamonds. And I’m not even getting into IPODs, a far more unisex product than jewelry. It’s not for nothing that the DTC took aim at IPODs in its advertising this year.

 

Is this because of a lack of interesting and different styles? Or new concepts? Even “Journey,” which has been a pretty big hit with the majors, is something of a retread of three-stone.

 

Supplier of Choice was in many ways on-target when it talked about the need of this industry to become more consumer-focussed. And for all its faults, SoC did lead to some interesting product concepts (not all of which made it.) But now that SoC is receeding, it seems the industry is going backwards, and that’s a shame.

 

-         Advertising was a little dull. I saw many retailer jewelry advertisements over the holidays. Almost all of them struck the same themes and chords. There was gooey music, hazy shots of men gifting diamonds, the same styles in almost every ad. I am not saying we shouldn’t emphasize the link between jewelry and romance – it’s the backbone of our trade. But is that the only theme we should be stressing? And if it is repeated too often, doesn’t it lose its magic?  Even “Every Kiss Begins With Kay,” as successful as it’s been, is now a seven-year-old campaign. That is an eternity in advertising years.

 

On the bright side, at least in print, some designers do stress fashion in their advertising. And the DTC’s relatively new use of pop songs in advertising (like here and here) is quite effective, even when the commercials themselves are standard.

 

-         The “blood diamond”issue/movie and general bad publicity about diamonds (“they aren’t really rare,” etc.) has had  an impact. I am not saying it had a huge impact; it was probably pretty minor. But it sure didn’t help. You can find a lot of people on the Internet bad-mouthing diamonds, and who knows how many people they speak for.

 

So those are my theories. Any others? Or thoughts?

JCK News Director