By Charles WyndhamJune 10th, 2016
It was Frances Gerety, of N W Ayer who came up with what is acknowledged as one of, if not, the most successful advertisement line, ‘A Diamond is Forever’.
The genius of this line I believe is that it hit two key targets.
Firstly, and most importantly it grasps the key emotional value of a diamond in the context of its attachment to engagements.
Secondly, it hints at an underlying and enduring monetary value.
So in a few words Frances Gerety squared the circle in creating for women an emotional attachment to diamonds and specifically engagement rings, whilst providing some rationale for the male, however, painfully flimsy in all but the most extreme cases, to justify the expense.
I have now read that the Diamond Producers Association (DPA) has come up with a new marketing strategy.
Any marketing strategy must be welcomed as some attempt to fill the hole left when De Beers stopped its generic advertising campaign over 10 years ago.
The absence of such generic advertising has been one of the reasons for the doleful performance of diamonds compared to any other luxury goods.
The new tag line is ‘Real is Rare. Real is a diamond.’
Comparing this to ‘A Diamond is Forever’ I have to say that it falls far short in my eyes.
My assumption is that the key aim of this tag line is to combat the threat of synthetic, or as I would prefer cultured diamonds.
I would suggest that this, if so, is firstly the wrong target and even if it is it will miss the target.
I simply do not think that the word ‘real’ hits the button, which I take to be comparing natural to cultured… for the benefits of the millenials (whoever they maybe).
A cultured diamond is 100% a real diamond, just man made, as opposed to being made by nature.
It was Coca Cola who had an immensely successful campaign extolling the virtues of the ‘It’s the Real thing’.
That certainly worked for a can of coke, but I think rather misses the point of a diamond.
Secondly, I take issue with the word ‘rare’.
In 2015 about 121 million carats of diamonds were mined, I won’t even bother to try to extrapolate into number of pieces but lets just say an awful lot.
‘Diamonds’ are not rare.
However, some diamonds are extremely rare, and there are areas of diamonds that are most certainly rare.
The ‘rarity’ factor of diamonds has been diluted over time due in part to the success of the mining industry and especially the success of Indian manufacturing operations, which have been able to turn vast quantities of what used to get crushed into ‘gem’ diamonds.
The problem is that so many of these ‘gem’ diamonds are junk, and frankly cultured diamonds in comparison to these diamonds provide a much more aesthetically pleasing product.
Whatever the hype the vast majority of ‘Diamonds’ are not sold as being ‘rare’.
I mentioned a few weeks ago in an article ‘Te Koop’, that most jewellery shops are more akin to looking into a butcher’s window than a window supposedly displaying rare and beautiful objects.
Shops selling fashion clothes, shoes and handbags often do a much better job, and I would even include some of the mass purveyors of clothes.
The display of diamonds and the often seedy surroundings associated with diamond selling areas such as Hatton Garden and 47th Street, give me very strong messages, but the one message I find impossible to find, and I do not think that I am alone, is that ‘diamonds’ are rare.
It was Frances Gerety who said the ‘big ones sell the little ones’.
Lucara’s 800 carater and soon to be 1,100 carater are indeed extremely rare as are also, but to a lesser extent, the top end of 1 carat stones, let alone, 2 carat, 3 carat etc. etc., or even into the smaller sizes.
Somehow, I think this message has to be got across, but a message is only as powerful as the actual experience, which again goes back to how the vast bulk of diamonds are displayed and sold.
It also goes back to the general distrust of the diamond industry.
If the real underlying value of diamonds is emotional this is a fragile commodity, and, if natural wants to protect its position it has got to provide real assurance to the public.
‘Real’ assurance cuts to the ‘real’ nub of the problem.
It means transparency, real transparency and not the smoke and mirrors which are so carefully cultivated by the industry around pretty much all its dealings, and to give just one example, instead of my usual jibe at Boney, I would suggest that the Kimberley Process is a complete fiction which has come to be deliberate obfuscation.
‘Real and Rare’ means to me I would prefer my steak done medium rare without a can of coke.