In a blow to the U.S. market, De Beers/Diamond Trading Company has cut its U.S. marketing budget, and 11 people at the Diamond Trading Company account at JWT in New York will be either transferred within the agency or let go. Here is what Sally Morrison of the Diamond Information Center has to say:
“It has to do with the perception that the market is moving to a recession and perhaps a bad one. There is an anticipation that 2008 is going to be very tough for everybody. [De Beers] has asked us to more carefully target and focus our marketing effort. …
“The male is mainly the decision maker, so we felt it would perhaps be best to refocus our money against the male target. There will be much less advertising during the year and more fourth quarter.
“The ‘beacon’ products [Journey, three-stone ring] are going to be supported in a different way. The marketing will be more targeted. We won’t be telling the ‘beacon’ story in female-targeted advertising.”
She noted that there will also be a greater emphasis on PR to counteract the loss of advertising.
Most of the employees impacted were not senior level. It is good to hear that at least some of them were reassigned in the agency. It must be tough times over there.
In any case, it seems another sacred cow is being slaughtered. I have never heard of De Beers heavily cutting its U.S. advertising budget before.
De Beers seems to be seriously rethinking its advertising effort. First it reorganized its advertising department and appointed a new marketing director. It clearly wants to reorient its marketing towards the Forevermark, which DTC MD Varda Shine just talked up as “a universal brand.” (And which is not currently being introduced in the U.S.) And of course there is the prospect of De Beers entering the U.S. once this class action is settled. It is not clear how this move plays into that, but clearly something is afoot.