Smile for Lee Read Jewelers!

This is part three of a five-part series.

Lee Reads Jewelers

Boise, Idaho

For more than 20 years, the folks at Lee Read Jewelers have been taking Polaroid pictures of newly engaged couples as part of their “Lee Read’s Smile” board. What was once a mosaic of “Polaroid moments” on a board in the store is now a major campaign for the Boise retail jeweler.

Images of happy couples are everywhere as part of the campaign, including the store’s homepage and special “Lee Read’s Smile” customer video Web page, TV and newspaper ads and even store Duratrans. But the image placement from the campaign that is getting the most notice is on the 550 square-foot diamond-shape light box that is just as commanding a sight from the store’s front as the building’s regal-looking facade.

When the superstore opened in 2000, three large diamond shapes were filled with white stucco and the store logo in black lettering on top. Five years later the logo changed and with it the light boxes were installed. For years product shots from various vendors were placed in the mammoth light boxes. Since last year, digital images of couples from the “Lee Read’s Smile” campaign have been displayed. Three times a year a new couple is featured in the large light boxes.


The light boxes have always been a huge win for the Lee Read Jewelers. Near I-84, nearly 80,000 motorists pass by the superstore each day, according to Sarah Read, director of sales and marketing. The beauty of the campaign is the raw and real quality it has and how people in the Boise market relate to it. The images are impromptu poses using a simple point-and-shoot 6 megapixel digital camera. “Customers are asked to stand in front of our huge aquarium in the store to give the image a little color contrast in the background,” says Read. “We don’t care what they’re wearing be it jeans and T-shirt to donning a cowboy or baseball cap. We keep it real and that’s what people like.”

Images of couples are shot on a digital camera. Read then takes the best image and has it transferred to a large 550-square-foot piece of film. Contractors then come to the store and change out the huge pieces of film. “We ask people if they want the film,” says Read. “One guy recently asked for his to hang up in his garage.”

When an image of a couple is in the light box, Lee Read employees receive phone calls asking if a person the caller knows or think they know is in the picture. “We get that a lot,” says Read. But, what’s fun about the campaign is giving Boise couples more than the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol promised each American.

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