Retailer of the Week honors goes to Kevin Lydon, co-owner of the Diamond Gallery of Naperville. When Jay Leno recently mentioned Lydon’s Christmas Eve sales event on The Tonight Show, the jeweler had to come up with a quick, creative response to capitalize on his newfound notoriety. The Naperville, Ill.–based jeweler produced a video directed at Leno and sent a copy of it on DVD to the show’s producers with the hopes of having it viewed by the famed late-night host.
For a retail jeweler’s Christmas sale to grab the attention of The Tonight Show writers, it had to be a pretty amazing and unique event. But Lydon is the first to admit that there isn’t a whole lot to his “Last Minute Guy” sale other than making sure that there’s enough food on hand for the hungry guys shopping for jewelry on Christmas Eve.
The actual print ad that caught the attention of Jay Leno’s writers.
The recent holiday season marked the third annual “Last Minute Guy” sale Lydon and his business partner and wife, Jackie, have hosted on Christmas Eve. What caught the attention of Leno’s writing staff to mention the jeweler’s ad in The Tonight Show’s “Headlines” segment was the free roast beef sandwich with every diamond purchase.
“These people are really smart,” said Leno in his “Headlines” segment. “They know how to sell to men. That’ll have the guys runnin’ down there.”
And run they did.
“It was our best Christmas ever,” says Lydon. “Sales were up 25 percent over last Christmas. The sales floor was buzzing with the girls helping so many guys. Meanwhile, I was in the back of the store making the roast beef sandwiches. I must have made about 60 of them during the five-hour sale.”
Given the success of the event, one would assume that the Leno “Headlines” segment mentioning Lydon’s ad aired before Christmas and helped bring in the crowds. Actually, it was taped live before Christmas but didn’t air until the evening of Monday, Jan. 3.
The actual “Headlines” segment from the Monday, Jan. 3, 2011 show.
“I sometimes watch The Tonight Show, but missed it that night,” says Lydon. “At 7 o’clock the next morning I heard my e-mail notification on my BlackBerry. It was from Kate Peterson [president and CEO of Performance Concepts], congratulating me on the mention.”
A deluge of congratulatory messages followed that day. With all of the e-mails, text messages, and phone calls from family members and friends as well as Facebook postings from customers, Lydon estimates about 100 people contacted him the day after Leno mentioned his store ad to an estimated 4 million The Tonight Show viewers.
But of all the responses that poured in that week, Lydon still had to acknowledge the one person who made the store owner’s momentary fame possible: the Tonight Show host himself, Leno.
The comedic truism of “for comedy to work there has to be an element of truth to it,” might leave one to wonder if Leno’s mentioning of the jeweler’s ad was a slam or praise. For last-minute guy shoppers, is buying jewelry on Christmas Eve at the Diamond Gallery of Naperville about the free roast beef sandwich or getting quality jewelry on sale just in time for holiday gift-giving?
To help clarify matters, and to forward a personalized note of thanks, Lydon created a video for Leno with the help of a friend. Unscripted and unrehearsed, a digital video camera was positioned in the store owner’s office.
Seated behind his desk with a roast beef sandwich—just like the ones he served at his Christmas Eve sales event—Lydon launched into an impromptu monologue that informed Leno about the unconventional event, reasons for hosting it, the success of this year’s sale, and then extended an open-ended invitation for Leno to come to the store next Christmas Eve for some jewelry shopping and a free roast beef sandwich. Finally, Lydon demonstrated how a Chicago guy eats a “sang-wich,” as Lydon said with emphasis in the video.
Kevin Lydon’s video response to Jay Leno
Total time for the video is 2 minutes and 17 seconds. You’ll hear The Nutcracker‘s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” as background music, and notice that footage of the recent Christmas Eve sale—showing guys chomping on massive sandwiches and eyeballing jewelry—was spliced in.
For now, Lydon is letting the issue rest. He sent a DVD to the Tonight Show producers and uploaded the video to YouTube (with 125 unique views and counting) and Facebook.
Lydon is pleased with the modest SEO boost he’s getting on YouTube and has exclusive rich video content for his social media platform of choice that directly reaches customers and colleagues who follow the goings on at the Diamond Gallery of Naperville.
In looking back at the success of the sale and the Tonight Show “Headlines” segment, Lydon says, “I didn’t take it as a negative. Leno said it himself that ‘They know how to sell to the guys.’”
Humbled by the exposure, Lydon doesn’t subscribe to grand delusions that sending a DVD to Leno’s producers will earn him a spot on The Tonight Show. “A more realistic expectation would be for Leno to check in with us next year to see how things are going with our Christmas Eve sale,” says Lydon.