Diamond Opportunity: Cash in on Anniversaries

January 7, 2005

Diamond Opportunity: Cash in on Anniversaries

"I Forever Do." You'll have no problem remembering this quirky phrase, for it will be featured in a major new advertising initiative launched by the Diamond Trading Co. in February. The marketing initiative will be large, soaking up over one-fifth of DTCs annual marketing budget.

The tag line, of course, has a familiar ring to it, shadowing DTC's instantly recognized slogan, "A Diamond Is Forever." This variation on the theme is aimed at married couples, husbands in particular. The tag also reminds couples of the fateful line uttered in the past: "I do."

"I Forever Do" is aimed at the huge married market – the 56 million souls in the U.S. who get married every year. DTC and its marketing arm in the U.S., J. Walter Thompson, view this as a major untapped opportunity for retailers to sell diamonds throughout the year. "Customers, especially men, don't have this idea that they should commemorate anniversaries with jewelry embedded in their souls yet," explains Richard Lennox, director in charge of the diamond group at JWT.

Research conducted by JWT suggests U.S. retailers are largely unaware of what portion of their business is anniversary-related. JWT estimates some 150,000 couples celebrate their anniversaries every day and notes that while 65% of women say they want diamond jewelry for their anniversary, only 6% of them get a diamond. DTC and JWT are aiming at the other 94%.

JWT estimates this is an untapped $4.8 billion market, as big as the Christmas season is for selling diamond jewelry. JWT studied demographics and some surprising data emerged. "Anniversaries are tied into how recent the wedding was. We found the strongest reaction to anniversaries in the first through seventh year," says Diamond Industry Strategy Director Claudia Rose. "However, we also found that the value of anniversary presents goes up as age increases."

The new initiative ties in with DTC's "Past Present and Future" three-stone jewelry campaign, say JWT officials. The link to the "Past Present and Future" theme will be remarkable – all anniversary jewelry featured in advertising will be three-stone jewelry. Some manufacturers who attended a DTC-sponsored breakfast meeting at the Roosevelt Hotel Jan. 6 to present the initiative to the trade, questioned this approach, wondering why it should be limited to three-stone jewelry.

"The goal is to get consumers to buy into the idea, and to build desire and emotional value for the category," says Lynn Diamond, director of the Diamond Promotion Service. Adds Lennox: "It's a way of marrying concepts that are already hugely successful, together with a new idea."

"I Forever Do" will launch on TV in February with a variation on "Steps," the renewal of vows campaign started late last year. The new segment will feature a strong "I Forever Do" message. The print campaign will use a two-pronged approach: the familiar "Seize the Day" black-and-white campaign aimed at humorously instilling guilt in men and driving them to buy diamond jewelry and a new "Pictures" campaign featuring a collage of family color photos, much like a scrapbook of a typical American couple. Both campaigns will start around Super Bowl weekend and Valentine's Day, with ads in major newspapers and Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, Conde Naste Traveler, Traditional Home and Golf Digest.

DPS is geared up to help retailers understand and tap into the program. It will supply a "I Forever Do" business planning guide package tailored to educate retailers and supply them with marketing tools such as in-case displays postcards and ad slicks. The guide will also help retailers aim their own programs at their individual consumer bases.

Manufacturers, meanwhile have been encouraged to produce lines of "I Forever Do" to meet the new demands. They are encouraged to develop their own advertising strategies surrounding the initiative.

DPS is also launching new marketing software in March called the DPS Marketing and Sales Engine. It's a targeted database in which consumers will enter personal information, which the software sorts and integrates. For a fee, retailers and manufacturers can tap into the information it provides.

For more information, contact DPS at (212) 210-7500.

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

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