Welcome to JCK’s eighth annual holiday jewelry commercial roundup!
Each year, I like to do this feature differently. In the past, I have supplemented my own thoughts with those of random people on the internet, industry marketing executives, and a group of millennials.
This year, we went the scientific route. We enlisted MVI Luxury Consumer Research to conduct an online survey. MVI showed nine jewelry ads to 503 consumers, male and female, ages 18 to 35. The survey asked for their impressions, what their favorite ad was, and whether these commercials made them more likely to buy the brand. The answers to the last two questions are illuminating and can be seen at the end of this post.
But, first, let’s consider the videos:
– “I enjoyed the music track and the diversity of actors, but had to watch the commercial twice to follow the various couples. Just one storyline probably would have held my attention better.”
– “It’s like plenty of other diamond commercials out there, the aesthetic is nice but it’s not really interesting or unique.
– “Excellent…it is a very emotional message.”
My comments: In comparison to past years, this year’s crop of jewelry ads seems rather generic: well executed but conventional. This ad doesn’t make much of pitch for Blue Nile, but it’s effective and well done, and all the scenarios are believable and relatable. This was my favorite of the 2017 crop.
Something to ponder: Two years back, I noticed that a few ads used female voices with acoustic guitar. This year the trend seems to be male voices with acoustic guitar. What makes that a little ironic is this was also a big year for female empowerment ads.
– “Animation brought a fresh feel to this commercial.”
– “Very odd. I didn’t care for the wooden character and the storyline dragged. The first bracelet was gorgeous though and I honestly would buy it.”
– “Kind of creepy.”
My comments: This spot is dramatically different from just about every other ad here. For that, it gets points. It also doesn’t use music, which gives it an eerie feeling.
I generally enjoy animation in ads and wanted to like this more than I did. It’s a little slow and not really on-brand. The snowball rolling on the stick figure seemed a little dark; I prefer my animated stick figures not to have near-death experiences.
Something to ponder: What was the pitch meeting like for this ad? “This stick man is wandering in the snow, picks up a key, and snatches jewelry from a frozen rabbit. Then he gets run over.”
– “I loved the coyness of the characters here. It’s understated and feels more genuine…I also liked the opportunities to see the ring itself multiple times as it moved with the woman’s hand. Great display of the piece.”
– “Honestly, it just looks like really forced product placement.”
– “Not sure what this is for.”
My comments: Last year’s Diamond Producers Association “Real is Rare” commercials attracted notice by boldly breaking the standard template for diamond ads. This year’s batch assiduously adheres to it. The difference is these ads target older millennials. That dinner-party-attending couple is a little too old to run off to Thailand with a snake.
This is a nice ad—with another male vocal—but the similar Blue Nile spot worked better for me.
Something to ponder: Just who is this other party?
– “The couple seems happy and adventurous which is realistic and also goals for a lot of couples. This makes the product more appealing.”
– “I didn’t notice any jewelry until the end of the commercial, so it felt like an afterthought. Overall a commercial I enjoyed (and probably will mention to a friend because I thought the map joke was clever) but it didn’t cause me to want to buy anything.”
– “I hate hipster couples.”
My comments: Signet seems so excited about this ad that it has created versions for Zales and Kay. It’s a great, clever ad—my second favorite this year—and I particularly like how the music (with yet another male vocal) relates to events on screen. But three versions? It’s not all that.
Something to ponder: While in Paris, Texas, I hope they see the Eiffel Tower with the cowboy hat.
– “The jewelry was lovely but it got old quickly. I prefer more storytelling in commercials to keep them engaging. For example, I would have preferred closeups that kept me guessing about what I was seeing. Then the reveal of a beautiful piece. Good, classic music choice, though.”
My comments: The music indeed works well—it’s surprising more ads don’t use The Nutcracker—and it’s refreshing to see an ad spotlight product. Still, this is an in-house production for a regional jewelry chain—which asked me to review its commercial—and it feels less polished than the other spots. Nice ad though.
– “Jewelry does give confidence to many girls. Good ad.”
My comments: Pandora seems to be going beyond female self-purchase to the female-purchase-for-other-female market. This is a quality spot, my third favorite, even if the first 10 seconds make you feel you’re watching some depressing HBO drama. And someone should copy edit that slogan.
Something to ponder: The singer keeps going on about record players. Do millennials know what those are?
– “Not sure how jewelry helps you do what they are talking about in this ad.”
– “Really liked the emotional pull on this one and the message. Again, this was a commercial that spoke to jewelry as a gift to someone other than a spouse. As a single woman, I’d be more interested in checking out this company because I feel it aligns with where I’m at in life.”
My comments: This is the second ad with a female-empowerment theme. It’s well-produced and has some nice imagery, and it’s certainly on-brand. But it felt a little flat, tossing out so many feel-good mottos that none really resonate.
Something to ponder: Was the token male just there to entertain them with his weird floor dance?
– “Much the same as every Christmas jewelry ad.”
– “This ad gave me an idea regarding what is my next Christmas gift for my wife.”
– “Love the Christmas vibes, love the woman talking in the background, love the snow. 10/10.”
My comments: Zzzz. Oh sorry. I just dozed off like grandpa.
I’ve called the ads this year generic, but this spot defines the term. Even the background music sounds like holiday time at the mall. Some of the vignettes are cute, but they comprise only half the spot. Every Christmas may be memorable, but this ad is forgettable.
Something to ponder: Survey respondents loved this ad. We’ll ponder that at the end of this post.
– “Enjoyed the growing-up story and the fact that this was more about jewelry being a gift to reflect and honor the main woman’s accomplishments and her relationships. Not necessarily just a gift from a spouse but from family members or pieces she got for herself.”
– “I don’t really understand the correlation between the jewelry and the people she’s interacting with. Like…why does it matter if she’s wearing the ring around her kid?”
– “I like that they mentioned [Forevermark] being responsibly sourced. That’s important nowadays.”
My comments: This is the third ad with a female empowerment theme and the second that features a woman steeling herself before stepping on stage. I found the images a little disconnected; they didn’t really tell a story. Is this supposed the same person?
Overall, though, this ad is—I keep using variations of this word—solid. And I recognized the song!
Final results from the survey:
After watching the nine videos, we asked participants to rank their three favorites. Here is the overall weighted ranking:
Chart: MVI Luxury Customer Research
The Kay Jewelers ad scored the top spot with women and ranked number two with men. It also ranked highest in two out of the three age segments (18- to 22- and 23- to 29-year-olds).
The Tiffany Holiday video was ranked highest by men and the 30- to 35-year-old demographic. It came in third with women, who listed Pandora second and Jared fourth. (Men listed Pandora fourth, Jared third.)
Aside from Pandora, the survey found no substantial difference in rankings for the other two female-oriented videos among male and female viewers.
We also asked respondents if the commercials made them more likely to buy from that store or brand. Here are the top vote-getters, listed by the percentage of “yes” answers:
1. Kay Jewelers – Memorable Christmas (59.7)
2. Day’s Jewelers – Holiday 2017 (56.1)
3. Forevermark – Tribute Collection (55.3)
4. Pandora – Do See the Wonderful (54.3)
5. Jared – Interwoven (53.9)
6.. Tiffany & Co. – A Tiffany Holiday (52.3)
7. Alex and Ani – Find Your Magic (51.7)
8. Blue Nile – Love is Brilliant (50.7)
9. Real is Rare/DPA – The Other Party (46.7)
The clear winner, in both polls, was Kay Jewelers.
While the Diamond Producers Association commercial ranked last, it doesn’t really advertise a brand or a store, more a category. Perhaps this question doesn’t fit for that spot.
One puzzling finding: Two videos that did not get high scores from consumers (Day’s and Forevermark) also made them want to buy.
Overall, says MVI CEO Martin Hurwitz, “this was a bunch of high-quality creative videos that consumers really liked. It shows that, as an industry, we are getting better at communicating with younger consumers.”
If you want more of the research MVI did for this study, including further age and demographic breakdowns, you can download its full report here.
Final thoughts from me:
My favorite ad this year was Blue Nile’s, followed by Jared/Interwoven and Pandora. Most didn’t evoke strong feelings either way. One exception: I disliked the Kay ad. Which turned out to be the overwhelming consumer favorite.
Considering how often we’re told the industry needs to modernize its advertising, it’s surprising that 500 under-35 adults chose the biggest throwback of the bunch. Perhaps my East Coast sensibilities are out of tune with those of Middle America. Or just maybe, inside every too-cool millennial beats the heart of a schmaltz-loving grandma.
Thank you to MVI Luxury Consumer Research for all its help with this year’s roundup—here again is the link to the full report—and thanks to everyone who participated. I have lost faith in the youth of America.
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