Sunday, June 9, 2024

A Diamond Is Forever” returns with a $20 million boost

London-De Beers Group is pumping an extra $20 million into marketing diamonds this holiday season with a multi-media generic category campaign that will look familiar to many.


The company has refreshed its “Seize the Day” campaign, which debuted in the mid-1990s, and is bringing back one of the most iconic slogans in advertising history, “A Diamond Is Forever.


The ads specifically promote natural diamonds, with lines such as: “Artist credit: Mother Nature” and “Nature’s mic drop” among others.

The updated “Seize the Day” campaign, which will launch in early November, will run in the world’s two largest diamond jewellery markets, the United States and China.

It will include print, out-of-home and digital components that will be available free of charge to retailers. De Beers will also work with influencers on the campaign.

Further details on how retailers can access the creative content will be announced next week.

In an interview on Tuesday, David Prager, De Beers’ chief brand officer, said the company is looking to create demand for US retailers this holiday season amid an economic backdrop that could prove challenging.

After two years of skyrocketing sales, diamond jewellery sales appear to be coming back down to earth.

The latest data from The Edge Retail Academy shows that gross sales across all diamond categories, including natural and lab-grown, are down 11 percent year-to-date, with units sold down 7 percent and average retail sales per unit down 4 percent.

The slowdown was evident in Signet’s latest quarterly results and was cited by the Gemological Institute of America as the reason for its recently announced layoffs.

Some consumers are feeling the effects of inflation and high interest rates, and savings rates are down after soaring during the pandemic, factors that De Beers is well aware of heading into the all-important fourth quarter.

The De Beers campaign is designed to tap into diamond desire and drive demand by relaying an “energetic, just in time message” in the midst of the biggest gift-giving season of the year.

“Natural diamonds have remained icons of love for centuries, and De Beers advertising has remained iconic over the decades. We’re proud to build on this tradition by reviving and refreshing one of our most successful campaigns,” De Beers CEO Al Cook said in a press release.

“By investing ahead of the holiday season, we aim to support the industry, drive consumer demand and underline our confidence in the future of the diamond dream.”The $20 million De Beers is spending on the updated Seize the Day campaign is in addition to the $45 million the company invests annually in the Natural Diamond Council, Prager said.

He said De Beers didn’t ask the NDC to take the lead on this campaign because the organisation had already invested in a Q4 campaign on behalf of its members.

“We wanted to add to and complement those efforts to support the trade this holiday, and we believe the most effective way to do that is to reintroduce ‘A Diamond Is Forever’ in advertising, which is De Beers’ own.”

He said De Beers would work with NDC to distribute the campaign.

Prager said that in developing a campaign for Q4 marketing this time around, De Beers went through its archives and chose Seize the Day because it was one of its most successful category campaigns.

It was also one of the last.

The original Seize the Day campaign, which was call-to-action and male-oriented, ran from the mid-1990s into the early 2000s.

Shortly thereafter, De Beers abandoned generic advertising in favour of promoting Forevermark, launched in Asia in 2008, and closed the US-based Diamond Promotion Service.
As De Beers announced the imminent launch of its 2023 holiday campaign, it also said it was discontinuing Lightbox’s short-lived lab-grown diamond engagement ring test.

The company said the three-month test “deepened its understanding” of consumer perceptions around lab-grown diamonds, but ultimately led it to conclude that the best opportunities for lab-grown diamonds were in fashion jewellery and loose diamonds.

De Beers quietly launched Lightbox engagement rings in June, selling them through its website but advertising them to consumers in only three markets: Atlanta, Dallas and New York. The company did not stick to its $800 per carat pricing structure for all rings in the test.

On Tuesday, De Beers said it found the commercial proposition for many lab-grown diamond engagement rings to be “unsustainable. It expects margins to shrink over time as what Prager described as a “tsunami of supply” enters the market and prices fall.

The company also said its latest consumer research shows that luxury jewellery consumers prefer natural diamonds for special occasions and to mark significant relationship milestones.

Prager said the company sees the decision to discontinue lab-grown diamond engagement rings as “getting back to Lightbox’s roots” as a fashion jewellery brand, as it did when it launched in 2018.

He said the move had nothing to do with De Beers receiving negative feedback from sightholders about entering the lab-grown diamond engagement ring market.

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