In a blow to the U.S. market, De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company has cut its U.S. marketing budget, and 11 people at the DTC account at JWT in New York are leaving the account.
Sally Morrison, of JWT’s Diamond Information Center, says the cutbacks have “to do with the perception that the U.S. market is moving to a recession and perhaps a bad one. There is an anticipation that 2008 is going to be very tough for everybody. [De Beers] has asked us to more carefully target and focus our marketing effort.”
As a result, the DTC will focus more on public relations, fourth-quarter advertising, and targeting the male consumer.
As for the “beacon” products, like Journey and three-stone rings, “they are going to be supported in a different way,” Morrison says. “The marketing will be more targeted. We won’t be telling the ‘beacon’ story in female-targeted advertising.”
Most of the employees affected were not senior level, and some of the people who left the DTC account were transferred within the agency.
De Beers’ Lynette Gould would not comment as to whether the DTC was cutting its marketing worldwide, or just in the United States.
De Beers seems to be seriously rethinking its advertising effort. First it reorganized its advertising department and appointed a new marketing director, a veteran of LVMH. It is also reorienting some its marketing toward its proprietary Forevermark, which DTC managing director Varda Shine, at a recent meeting of sightholders, said will be “a universal brand.”
There is also speculation that the DTC will enter the United States when the current class-action suit is finished.