For the last few years, the question about De Beers’ marketing in the U.S. has been: Will it still continue to underwrite generic marketing, in particular for its generally successful “beacons” (i.e. the three-stone ring, “Journey”)?
At the sight today, De Beers told sightholders that it would … but only if others pitch in. The plan is for De Beers to continue to introduce generic ”beacons” in the U.S. (now called “big ideas”), but for those costs to be underwritten by not only De Beers, but its sightholders, and retailers.
In exchange, these companies would get their products and stores featured in the generic ads.
These “big ideas” would be promoted by the De Beers “marketing machine,” including the current team at JWT, which, most agree, is the most knowledgeable and effective at diamond promotion.
None of this is set in stone. De Beers told its clients it will go ahead only if there is sufficient interest. And this is different from the St. Petersburg generic marketing initiative, which is meant to promote diamonds worldwide, and involve other producers and non-De Beers clients.
Even so, this could be an interesting test. We all agree the U.S. market has been helped by generic marketing. We all like the “big ideas.” But are people really willing to pay for them?