De Beers Campaign Touts Diamond ‘Value’

De Beers plans to double its marketing budget this Christmas to its highest level ever—with a campaign built around the idea that “diamonds are the ultimate icon of enduring value.”

Claudia Rose, director of brand strategy at JWT, told those attending the Diamond Promotion Service breakfast at the Waldorf-Astoria Thursday that this approach was geared towards today’s jittery consumers.

“These are unprecedented times,” Rose said. “Consumers are rather unhinged. They are regarding everything they purchase with skepticism.”

Yet Emmy Kondo, Diamond Promotion Service’s planning director, noted that consumer research yielded several statistics that boded well for the industry, including the finding that diamond jewelry is the “most desired gift” for the holidays, more so than consumer electronics.

“Women clearly want diamond jewelry but they think that maybe a flat screen TV is a more practical choice,” she said.

And so the new campaign is aimed at convincing that diamond jewelry is indeed practical, because it is lasting and something that “holds value.”

Kondo noted that research show that consumers want “fewer, better things,” and that 66 percent of women agree that diamond jewelry is a wonderful gift to hand down to the next generation.

“Among luxury consumers, diamond jewelry is perceived to be safer than stocks, real estate, fine art,” she said. “It even came out ahead of cash in a safe deposit box.”

But the campaign will also stress the familiar theme of diamonds as “a gift of love.”

“During recessionary times, self purchase goes down, gift purchase goes up,” Kondo said.

The new campaign’s print ads attempt to “have a conversation” with the reader, said Richard Lennox, group account director for the De Beers account at JWT. They have longer body copy, a “whiter” look and are topped with lines like “Two Things Last Longer Than Time. Love is One of Them.”

There will also be a revamped version of De Beers’ popular “Hands” commercial, now backed with an instrumental version of “Stand by Me.”

The ad campaign will feature studs, diamond solitaire necklaces, “journey” pieces, three-stone jewelry, and engagement rings—a “classic line-up,” Lennox said.

In addition, there will be a massive PR effort, including a segment on the “Today” show, a diamond giveaway on “The View,” and in-person appearances by DIC personnel on local TV stations throughout the country, according to Diamond Information Center director Sally Morrison.

“The idea is not just to make as much diamond noise as possible, but follow the footprint of the advertising campaign,” Morrison said.

Lennox notes that the campaign is a “big challenge.”

“From a marketing standpoint, one of the hard things you can do is to ‘reframe’ an argument and that is what we are trying to do,” he said. “But if we can do that, we can get a good deal of insulation in this challenging time.”

Further information on the campaign can be found at dps.org.

A De Beers executive gave JCK further background on the campaign here.