Why the Diamond Producers Association Chose “Real Is Rare”

The new slogan for diamonds has nothing to do with synthetics, the group says

It is easy to think that the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) is trying to counter lab-grown diamonds with its new slogan: “Real is rare. Real is a diamond.”  The words real and rare are two clubs the natural industry tends to beat the lab-grown business with—even if both are somewhat debatable in that context.

In an interview today, DPA CEO Jean-Marc Lieberherr told me he understands that reaction, but synthetic diamonds were never part of its thinking:

The diamond producers are in this to make a long-term generational commitment to the industry. There is nothing tactical in anything we are doing.

The strategic imperative is to establish a deep emotional connection with the new generation, which the diamond category has not. Many young consumers have not been exposed to diamond category messaging. The most successful brands and categories appeal to consumers on an emotional level. They are not sold as status symbols, not as symbols of luxury, not riding on conventions. But they have a story to tell that appeals to consumers emotionally. Tbe emotional appeal has been lost a little bit in translation; the rituals have taken over in the way that we communicate. Our strategic objective is to establish that emotional connection.

What we have got to with ‘Real is rare’ is what we think is the essence of what makes the diamonds the unique product they are. If you get to that unique essence it is not surprising that people would look at it and say that is anti-synthetic. Otherwise it means that you haven’t gotten to the bottom of the essence of that product.

Millennials are flooded with things that last six months—digital phones that are obsolete, virtual connections. That is the world they are living in, but that is not who they are as human beings. They crave things that are real and genuine.

When we put diamonds in front of them, on the one side there are these rituals and these symbols that are very heavy and it takes diamonds away from them. But when you get to the product, its essence appeals to them very strongly. What is more grounded than a product that is older than who we are as a species? They relate to that story.

‘Real is rare’ is making explicit the very reason why diamonds have exerted such a fascination for people that goes well beyond what they look like and how hard they are. It is going back to something essential, very powerful. It is the big human truth we are building on.

You can read more about the thinking behind the DPA campaign here.

It certainly helps to watch the organization’s truly affecting video, which was shown at the DPA and Rapaport breakfasts at JCK Las Vegas. Regrettably, I can’t post it here, but here is the copy:

Today we’re more connected than ever. More pics, more clicks, more chats, and snaps, likes, texts, PMs and DMs. But the more we talk the less words mean. We’re treading water in a sea of connections looking for something more.

We’re searching for someone. Grasping for genuine something that embraces sincerity in the face of cynicism. It’s not about needing someone but wanting them. It’s the moment you choose to go all in. Cut the parachute chord and enjoy the free fall.

This is what it all comes down to. Two people in one moment living something real. But something real is rare.

You’re not going to see it too often. And at the end of the day if you have to ask yourself if something’s real, then you probably already have the answer.

The video is so touching and on target, you almost dread the moment it tries to sell you something—because that, in a sense, makes it less real.

The DPA isn’t calling “Real is rare” a slogan—more a marketing platform that it can build upon. It actually has two parts: “Real is rare” and “Real is a diamond.”

The second part is “how we close the loop and make sure that it is understood and connected to diamonds,” Lieberherr says. “If we are successful, over time, you don’t need ‘Real is a diamond.’ That is what happens with a great line. They take on their own life.”

The DPA started with a $6 million budget, but that has now been doubled and may be expanded in years to come. India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council has pledged to the support the new campaign, which for now is limited to the United States only: “We don’t have a lot of research from other markets,” says Lieberherr. “Everything the DPA does is consumer insight–driven.”

Is the new line “A Diamond Is Forever”? Perhaps it doesn’t trip off the tongue as well. But when copywriter Frances Gerety first presented the slogan of the century to her colleagues at N.W. Ayer,  she “didn’t get all excited about it and neither did anyone else.” It took decades of advertising—and, of course, a James Bond book, movie, and song—for it to attain truly iconic status.

“Real is rare” is about two weeks old. We’ll see how it goes.

(Ring: Rozaliya/Thinkstock)

JCK News Director