De Beers to Promote Less Generic Advertising

De Beers plans to spend less money on generic advertising, according to a comment by De Beers’ CFO Stuart Brown at a recent diamond conference in London.

“[De Beers’] marketing spend in the past year reached $220 million, primarily focused on the generic market,” Brown said. “This has proved to be a very successful strategy for both De Beers and the diamond industry as a whole; however, we are hoping to increase the proportion of marketing budget dedicated to our proprietary diamonds in the future.”

Asked to elaborate, De Beers’ Louise Prior told JCK, “As you know, our sales and marketing strategy, Supplier of Choice, remains the same—driving consumer demand for diamond jewelry, [so] nothing’s changing here. What is changing, however … is the means by which we can do this most effectively, and a part of that could be with the Forevermark, where we have already seen tremendous success in Hong Kong. We’ve recently launched the Forevermark in India, Japan, and China, and we plan to open in the Gulf in 2008, where we hope to see similar levels of success.”

The Forevermark has not yet been introduced in the United States. However, the mark—inscribed on the stone’s table, along with an identification number—is billed as a “promise that your diamond is special, meeting the highest standards of the world’s No. 1 diamond company.” More information can be seen at Forevermark.com.

This is not the first time De Beers has indicated it will spend less on generic advertising. In an interview with JCK two years ago, De Beers’ Stephen Lussier noted that overseas De Beers’ advertising money goes to its proprietary brands. In Japan, for example, it advertises the Trilogy brand instead of three-stone jewelry. “If you go to other markets[than the U.S.], we more directly involve our sightholders in our advertising,” he said in that interview. “That’s where our long-term future lies. It’s only right and fair. We are not a charity.”