Viral Spiral: The Diamond Center’s Credit Man

For jewelry-lovers of a certain age in California’s San
Francisco Bay area, the 1980s call to mind Paul Copansky, a jeweler who once
ruled local airwaves as the go-to-guy for credit at his store, The Diamond
Center.

Although the commercials are gone, Copansky is still in
business. And, in the age of YouTube, his so-bad-they’re-good spots have
enjoyed a renaissance of sorts—some have thousands of unique views. Copansky’s
signature ad, “Credit Man,” is a tacky yet totally lovable spin on “Soul Man”
(made famous by the Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi).

At the time, Copansky was a trend leader not a follower
with the “Credit Man” commercial and the many other shameless productions that
followed. But one must give, ahem, credit where credit is due. Copansky developed a
business plan that established market differentiation. He stuck to it, and
never, ever wavered from his central message, which emphasized why customers
should buy diamond jewelry from his store.

“Credit Man” has received more than 14,000 unique views on
YouTube in just over a year since it was uploaded. See what industry video
marketing guru Nick Failla says about Paul Copansky’s “Credit Man” video:

“This week’s video reminds me of one of my favorite
television promotions as a kid, Monster Movie week. It was a glorious week that
highlighted the likes of Gamera, Mothera, and, of course, Godzilla. Much like
this week’s video from Paul Copansky’s Diamond Center, these movies were so
bad they were good. You might even say great!

“You can count on three things when you view one of
Copansky’s famous videos:

  1. Paul
    will be smiling and having fun.
  2. The
    commercial will be lovably corny.
  3. The
    message Paul is trying to convey will be clear: He offers easy credit to buy
    diamond jewelry.

“The genius in these spots is that they are simple, clear,
and Paul doesn’t take himself too seriously. Purchasing an item of jewelry
for many consumers is an intimidating and stressful experience. These same
consumers might feel better about shopping with a store that obviously enjoys
having fun and is by no stretch of the imagination stuffy. The sales
increases experienced when Paul ran his spots support this theory.

“It’s important to note that one of the big reasons that
this type of advertisement works so well for Copansky is that he is ‘all in.’ There
are no reservations and he just hams it up and has fun, good taste and actual
acting talent be damned. You may have seen other spots that tried to convey
their message with humor but failed because the actors were stiff and reserved.
That’s definitely not the case here. In a recent piece from a Bay Area blogger
who caught up with Copansky before Christmas,
The Diamond Center owner admitted he was shy and reserved at first, but bucked
up and did his best, channeling other Bay Area business owners airing similar
commercials. Copansky’s business tripled over night.”

Nick Failla