Seize the Day

November 1998


Seize the Day

De Beers is counting on its new campaign to jolt men into buying more diamonds this holiday season

With Christmas – and your best jewelry-selling season – just around the corner, De Beers has unveiled its most ambitious ad campaign ever. Called "Seize the Day," it seeks to take advantage of the new strata of affluence created by the U.S.'s economic strength over the past decade.

Ironically, the campaign was announced Aug. 31, the same day the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 512 points. But the fundamentals of the U.S. market remain sound, says Stephen Lussier, worldwide director of De Beers' Consumer Marketing Division in London. "Stock market movements have not had a big effect on jewelry sales historically," he says. To prove his point, Lussier points to a 23% stock market drop in October 1987, when interest rates and unemployment were low. Christmas sales were healthy that year. Because the same economic conditions exist now, De Beers anticipates a strong holiday selling season.

Investment in Diamonds
To underscore this confidence, De Beers pledged a 55% increase in its holiday ad budget for the U.S. this year. The trade segment of the campaign urges retailers to "act now" and not shy away from promotional investment. Full-page ads ran in October issues of Professional Jeweler,National Jeweler, JCKand Modern Jeweler.

The consumer segment of the campaign encourages men to buy diamonds this Christmas. Ads will run in November and December issues of consumer magazines aimed at affluent males (Cigar Aficionado, Fast Company, Robb Report, Wiredand Worth).Ads will appear also in national newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, USA Todayand Barronsand such regional newspapers as the Los Angeles Timesand Chicago Tribune.The ads feature stark black and white lettering with a humorous twist: "It is never a good idea to keep a woman waiting," "There's never been a better time to invest in futures," "This Christmas there will be more than three wise men" and "Redo the kitchen next year."

Says De Beers: "This will get men who would not otherwise visit a jewelry store to do so."

Additional Promotions
A direct marketing campaign aimed at 7,000 jewelry retailers in the United States includes countertop cards and postcards. Meanwhile, the strategy for television ads continues with De Beers' popular "Shadows" series of men surprising women with diamond jewelry gifts.

New to De Beers' consumer advertising mix this autumn is outdoor advertising. For the first time, De Beers is placing witty messages on billboards and posters designed for airports, trains, train stations, buses and outdoor kiosks. For high "techies," banners will appear on the Internet as well.

"This investment reflects our confidence in the strength of the American market," says Lussier.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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