Journey Looks Like a Hit

Journey—the newest product concept from JWT, De Beers’ U.S. marketing firm—looks like a hit after its first Christmas at retail.

“Journey was a very strong category for us,” says David Sternblitz, director of investor relations for Zale Corp.

“We don’t have any hard numbers, but we have heard across all levels that Journey definitely helped drive sales over the holiday,” notes Colby Shergalis, JWT’s core program associate director. She notes that the Journey S-shape “squiggle” pendants did particularly well.

JWT defines Journey as four diamonds of different sizes, arranged in a graduated pattern.

Shergalis feels that Journey’s message—“with every step, your love grows”—resonated with consumers and especially the trade.

“The trade really got behind Journey,” she says. “We never expected this kind of support right out of the starting gate. We saw all kinds of ads from a variety of retailers, from small chains to large chains. A lot of them incorporated our Journey tagline, and it felt like a really big campaign.”

Unlike the three-stone ring, which took a while to build, Journey did well its first year out.

“The three-stone ring was based on a concept that took the trade a while to understand,” notes Rob May, of the Pluczenik Group. “But now that’s been done already, and the trade was able to latch onto this concept immediately.”

Tom Tanner, director of marketing for Andin, also notes that Journey jewelry “lends itself more to unique and exciting designs than some of the DTC’s other ‘beacons.’”

Journey’s success did affect sales of three-stone rings, which have a similar message and concept.

“Three-stone rings were still strong, but we heard three-stone pendants were a little slow, and we knew that would happen,” says David Sisson, director of market intelligence for JWT.

Shergalis adds that JWT considers 2007 Journey’s real launch year. “We did some research, and less than one in 10 women have even heard of the Journey diamond concept,” she says. “That’s still 90 million women that have not even heard of Journey yet.”

Journey will be promoted this year with a new print campaign (“Line”), as well as continued airing of its popular “Dandelions” television ad, which features the S-shape pendant.

There will be at least three executions of the new “Line” print campaign, which uses drawn lines to “visually represent the path a couple takes together on their journey,” Shergalis says.

The first execution launched in February with two versions: one featuring the S-shape pendant and one featuring a heart pendant. Future executions will feature drop earrings and a circle pendant as well as other designs and piece types. The ads are running in female-targeted publications such as Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Gourmet, InStyle, Town & Country, Vogue, and W.

“We want to make sure retailers don’t see this as a fad or a trend,” says Sisson. “We want to make sure retailers have this in their counters for years to come. Past, present, future is now in its seventh year, and we think Journey has the potential to stay relevant to consumers.”

Information on selling Journey is available on the Diamond Promotion Service’s Web site, www.dps.org.