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The Story Behind "A Diamond is Forever"

A Diamond is ForeverDe Beers launched a multi-million dollar "A Diamond is For Ever" advertising campaign to rekindle the demand. With N.W. Iyer, its U.S. advertising agency, it had developed aggressive campaign to promote sales of diamond anniversary rings and jewelry for men. The campaign focuses on women as objects of devotion and features full page color advertisements and television spots. It targets women and focuses on showing women how to give men diamonds. The campaign gradually reverted to targeting men and the advertisements took on a more macho look (Read - Brand Management - Glitter Glitter Everywhere by Jeanne L. McGough, Madison Avenue Journal, Vol. 26, Issue 11, Oct 1984)

N.W. Iyer has consistently marketed the diamond engagement ring as a future oriented purpose and has developed a price guideline for those shopping engagement rings (Read - Diamonds are an Engaging Tradition, Jewelers Ring Up Sales to Women by Julia Liesse Erickson and Bess Gulanis, Advertising Age, Vol. 55, Issue 43, July 1984)

The ultimate luxury good in the status stakes. They also grind out the tools and precisions parts on which our advanced civilization depends. Diamonds can add glamour to the most beautiful woman; they also finance the cruellest of civil wars. Ever since Cecil Rhodes imperial adventures in the late 19th century, a single company has stealthily extended its influence on the global market for diamonds until it achieved almost total control.

The manner in which diamonds were formed and the values they symbolize are summed up concisely in what Advertising Age magazine called the greatest advertising slogan of the 20th century. Late one night in 1947 Frances Gerety, a young copywriter at the N. W. Ayer advertising agency, was working on a presentation for De Beers but, feeling tired and completely stumped she prayed, "please God, send me a line." Then, she suddenly scribbled the famous words: A diamond is forever!

Sustaining Demand

While controlling production and distribution, De Beers have also made sure that the lure and fascination of diamonds sustains and even increases every year.

Japanese Courtship according to De Beers

Until the 1960s, in Japan the marriage ceremony was consummated according to the Shinto law - by the bride and groom both drinking rice wine from the same wooden bowl. There was no tradition of a diamond engagement ring. in 1967, halfway around the world, a South African diamond company decided to change the Japanese courtship ritual. It retained J. Walter Thompson, the largest advertising agency in the world to embark on a campaign to popularize diamond engagement rings in Japan. Though it was a difficult task, the campaign was remarkably successful and the diamond engagement rings sale rose by 27% by 1972. In the late 1960s, less than 7% of Japanese women had received a diamond engagement ring. Twenty years later, almost 75% of Japanese women now have diamond rings on their fingers. Japan accounts for 30% of the worldwide diamond sales is said to be 2.5 times the sales in the U.S. (Read - Japan adds Luster to World Diamond Market by Neil Berkman, Tokyo Business Today, August 1989). The advertising campaign in Japan in the '60s sent a message that diamonds represent a sharp break with the Oriental past and entry point into modern life.