A good part of doing this blog is searching the Internet seeing what people are saying about the diamond industry. And Oscar night is one of the few times I read publicity about diamonds without having to also read about what happened in Sierra Leone, the De Beers cartel, and all the rest …
This doesn’t happen by accident. A lot of companies have gotten pro-active about putting diamonds on celebrities, but a good deal of the work is still done by the Diamond Information Center, which we all know is paid for by De Beers.
Now De Beers has made noises lately that they shouldn’t be footing the bill for all of this. And it’s tough to disagree. In the early part of this decade, the “Supplier of Choice” policy was meant to at least partially move the burden of marketing onto the sightholders. That policy has “evolved,” seemingly to the point of non-existence, and it’s worth noting that you rarely hear the words “Supplier of Choice” from De Beers executives anymore. It’s also interesting that most of the names that you hear outfitting celebs at the Oscars (like Kwiat, Harry Winston, and Leviev) are not sightholders.
De Beers itself, meanwhile, seems to be dedicating more resources to the Forevermark, and less to generic marketing; in an interview, finance director Stuart Brown discusses the Forevermark’s success in Hong Kong and says they hope to make it a “revenue generating” venture. De Beers has also just hired a new PR firm – which, it is interesting to note, specializes in brands – I assume to promote the Forevermark. We are even hearing about the Forevermark at the Oscars, even though the Forevermark isn’t available in this country. I have no idea whether all this will work, but from De Beers’ perspective, it makes sense. Why wouldn’t they want to spend their marketing money on something that could turn a profit for them, instead of on generic ads which also benefit the 60% of the market they don’t control?
So is the end of ”generic marketing,” which as we all know, has been the backbone of this industry for 70 or so years? Well, as I’ve been reporting, we are now hearing about a “joint industry effort” to market diamonds generically. IDMA has just endorsed the concept. And I say, this all can’t come soon enough, if we want to continue hearing about the “fabulous bling” at the Oscars.