De Beers will spend $20 million promoting natural diamonds this holiday—in a campaign that marks the return of both its celebrated “A Diamond Is Forever” slogan and its “Seize the Day” advertising.
“This obviously is a very challenging time,” says De Beers chief brand officer David Prager, who blamed macroeconomic factors for the industry’s downturn. “We wanted to create a campaign that was category-supportive. So what you will see, for the first time in many years, is a De Beers-led category campaign.”
The company is resurrecting “Seize the Day,” the male-oriented “call to action” positioning that De Beers ran for the holidays in the late 1990s and 2000s.
“We went back into De Beers’ archives and De Beers’ history, and looked at some of the category campaigns that have been effective in the past,” Prager says. “We were particularly looking for something that we could turn around very quickly, that was highly successful, and where almost all the investment that we made would not go to production and celebrities and film shoots, but rather would go to flighting media that would have an impact for Christmas.”
The new campaign will run in both the United States and China but be heavily weighted toward the United States. Ads will feature classic styles and specifically tout natural diamond engagement rings.
“We have about 100 lines—some sentimental, some irreverent,” Prager says. “Most lean into the idea of ‘natural.'”
De Beers didn’t recruit an ad agency for this effort, though it employed a team of copy and comedy writers to craft taglines. Some of the new ad toppers: “Good things take time. The best take a billion years.” “Nature’s mic drop.” “The real thing deserves the real thing.” “Do you like it when she fakes it?” “The only stud you need in your life.” “Make her scream, ‘Yes, yes, yes.” “Say goodbye to your silent nights.” “Artist credit: Mother Nature.”
Advertisements will appear in print, on billboards, online, and on social media. De Beers will offer them free of charge to U.S. retailers to run in local markets, and to use as in-store collateral material. It also plans to work with influencers, both outside and inside the industry.
This is at least the second time De Beers has brought back “Seize the Day” to goose the market. In 2015, De Beers briefly revived it, in response to another downturn, but tied the ads to its Forevermark brand.
At that time, the Natural Diamond Council (NDC)—then known as the Diamond Producers Association—was still getting off the ground. Since then, the industry has generally considered NDC its vehicle to drive overall mined diamond demand.
Prager says De Beers will continue to support NDC this holiday with a “significant” investment. “The NDC has its own campaign, which is successful, with Lily James, and they’ll be running that this Christmas,” he says. “‘A Diamond Is Forever’ is De Beers’ proprietary campaign, and we’ll be running that ourselves. But we’ve talked to NDC, and they’ll help us distribute this campaign and the assets to retailers.”
De Beers will continue to promote its own name, and will continue its advertising with actress Lupita Nyong’o to boost its retail chain and Forevermark brand.
“That’s a reflection of what we’re seeing in the segment at large,” says Prager. “We are seeing depreciation in the value proposition of the product. We see the price coming down. Every two years, the price halves, which means a retailer two years from now will have to sell twice as many carats to maintain their own flat margin.”
De Beers plans for “Lightbox’s future where it was intended, in the fashion and style and fun part of the segment—creating innovative designs, innovative cuts, that get people excited,” Prager says. “But not [for] emotional symbolic gifts, as we see the value of the [lab-grown] category diminish over time.”
De Beers’ market research says that three out of four women will seek out a natural diamond when given the choice between natural and lab-grown, Prager says.
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