I think we’ve, or perhaps just I’ve, been looking at the Forevermark all wrong.
The “Forevermark,” is of course, the diamond shaped icon that will go on the stone’s table; it is now the focus of De Beers’ marketing budget, except in the U.S. I’ve argued that the “mark” is a singularly unexciting product – it’s hard to imagine any kind of advertising campaign built around what it stands for (all natural, ethically sourced, etc.), at least one that wouldn’t involve disparaging the rest of the diamond industry. And it’s already spawned copycats (here’s the latest.)
But as it turns out, the relaunched Forevermark campaign may involve more than just the Forevermark.
The plan is to tie the Forevermark in with De Beers’ so-called “big ideas,” or “beacons.” De Beers’ “beacons” (the three stone ring, Journey, etc) have largely driven the market, at least in America. De Beers likely will keep introducing them – except now they will be proprietary brands tied in with the Forevermark.
The De Beers presentation compared the “Forevermark” to the “Apple” icon, and perhaps that’s a good analogy. People don’t buy products just because they are marked “Apple” (cultists notwithstanding.) They buy ipods, macbooks, iphones, with the Apple logo on them. And so the “Forevermark” could end up being simply a “brand” that supports other proprietary jewelry products.
The first of the “big ideas” may be the so-called “Forevermark Setting,” a four pronged setting where the prongs stand for “North, South, East and West” – meant to trace “the directions of your love.” (I guess big ideas does not necessarily translate to fresh ideas.) “That is something that is in the very initial stages,” says spokeswoman Ellie Goss. “We plan to test everything we do.”
By the way, the idea that these products are “proprietary” is worth watching. For years, manufacturers planned their lines based on what De Beers was advertising. But in the future, if you’re not signed up with the Forevermark, mimicking what’s in De Beers’ ads could get you a letter from De Beers legal. (I should note that none of this applies in the U.S., for now.)
Also worth noting:
- Advertising will remain with longtime ad agency JWT “for the foreseeable future,” according to the recent Forevermark presentation. The Forevermark packing is being designed by Landor.
– The much talked about Forevemark lab will have a 15 day turnaround, and will use a “proprietary” color grading technique.
– As Chaim notes, retailers will pay $50,000 annually to tie in with the mark, although sightholders expect to “underwrite” some of that, at least at first.
– The schedule for the “relaunch” is: Hong Kong and China: fourth quarter 2008; Japan, first quarter, 2009; Taiwan, India and South Africa, second quarter, 2009. No U.S. launch was announced. Hong Kong and China were considered the strongest markets in the pilot; Japan, less so.
– Will other brands, like Hearts on Fire, etc., be allowed to tie in with the Forevermark? “That’s something we are looking at with our trade partners, which includes both retailers and sightholders,” says Goss. But De Beers manufacturing the stones and/or jewelry itself is “not in the cards,” Goss says.