Bragging Rights

December 1998

Image:Valentine's Day

Bragging Rights

Customers relive their cherished memories in promotions

Some retailers think it's OK to kiss and tell. They've found success in local contests, generally coupled with splashy ad campaigns, inviting couples to share their love stories for prizes.

Rogers Jewelry's two stores in Reno, NV, asked "How did you pop the question?" in full-page newspaper ads smacked with red lipstick marks, a besmooched local celebrity (the police chief) and a handful of proposal ideas. Entrants put so much effort into their walk-in entries that Rogers ran a post-contest "People's Choice Awards" and printed favorites in an ad. The prize was an Ideal Cut anniversary band and a "night on the town."

"We weren't really advertising merchandise, but wedding-set sales went up 20% during the promotions," says Bart Marks of Rogers. "The people who entered the contest weren't the target. The ads caught the attention of young couples who were getting ready to get or had just gotten engaged."

People have a basic need to announce their love to the world, and these promotions let them do it in a big way, says Elizabeth Parker of Curt Parker Jewelers in St. Louis, MO. Curt Parker was a sponsor in the "How We Met" contest run by a local newspaper and donated the main prize, a strand of cultured pearls. The winning couple, who met while traveling separately on vacation and discovered during the flight home they lived in the same city, visited the Parkers' store for champagne and a lesson in pearl care.

The Diamond Information Center gets engagement ring customers involved in a similar way by showcasing unique engagement stories on its Web site at


– by Stacey King

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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