De Beers’ Christmas Plans

At yesterday’s De Beers teleconference, managing director Gareth Penny mentioned two things that might be of interest to American readers. The first was that the De Beers retail chain has opened a store in Honolulu — although that is apparently under the auspices of its Asian division. (Here is info on it.) 

So, with the eight stores it now has open in the U.S., and the two upcoming ones in Naples and Costa Mesa, that will make ten De Beers stores in the U.S. And, as Penny has noted previously, the goal is to get near 50 worldwide by the end of the year.

Secondly, Penny said the company this Christmas plans “some very innovative and exciting [marketing] programs, in the U.S. in particular.” (I should note he was referring to De Beers’ generic diamond advertising, not the advertising for the stores.)

Following up on that, I just spoke to Janet Sussens, the head of De Beers’ U.S. marketing, who briefed me about what’s going on:

– On the “innovative” front, the company hopes to do more things along the lines of the big  “A Diamond is Forever” made of roses it installed earlier this year at Grand Central Station (which has a little cameo by the Forevermark, “used under license.”) You can see pictures of the exhibition here and here. The idea is apparently while flowers die, a diamond is forever. ”That was hugely successful for us — it generated a lot of interest and PR,” Sussens says.

– The company also plans to do more online advertising, including buying search engine keywords, as well as email advertising and online banners, all designed to drive people to

– The company plans to rerun last year’s “Drive Home” commercial, which now advertises “Journey.” But it may also do a version with ear studs. “When our team went to trade shows, there was huge interest in featuring ear studs,” Sussens says. “Our team reckons that ear studs will be a big item this Christmas. So we are looking at doing a version that features them.”

Sussens says “Drive Home” was one of the best testing Christmas commercials the company’s ever done.

– It will also continue its “Seize the Day” outdoor and print and “countdown” print campaigns.

The U.S. budget has been “scaled back,” Sussens admits, although Christmas advertising now comprises a bigger share of the overall total. Journey “will be about 25% of what we show,” she says, “but otherwise, it’s back to the old classics: ear studs, solitaire necklaces and the other beacons we’ve been spotlighting.”

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