Barry Manilow, eat your heart out. The “You deserve a break today” line that you wrote for McDonald’s may be one of the most famous jingles of all time, but it doesn’t hold a candle to “A Diamond Is Forever,” which was coined by copywriter Frances Gerty in 1947.
Now De Beers, one of the world’s two major diamond-mining companies—and the one that essentially carved out the modern affection for diamonds in women’s hearts around the world—is bringing back one of the most iconic slogans of all time via its Forevermark brand.
De Beers launched the Forevermark diamond brand in 2008 to market “the world’s most carefully selected diamonds” in the US, UK, Canada and Asia. Seven years later, it’s reviving the “A Diamond Is Forever” tagline for an integrated US holiday advertising campaign that will run in the fourth quarter and target millennials, for whom diamond-buying is a pricey and old school tradition that will require updating the phrase by going back to its roots of the promise of enduring love, Ad Age reports.
Forevermark keeps close tabs on millennials’ purchasing and diamond-buying trends, and intends to target the upcoming campaign at consumers seeking diamonds of a half-carat and larger, typically engaged couples and young marrieds celebrating anniversaries or significant events such as the birth of a child.
As National Jeweler notes, “The campaign will relaunch with ‘new meaning and relevance’ to appeal to millennials, a key target audience for Forevermark—De Beers’ diamond jewelry brand—as they are the new generation of consumers who also are of marrying age right now.”
The campaign will naturally include a new commercial around the theme of “Forevermark: A Diamond Is Forever,” a launch event that will take advantage of New York Fashion Week interest and a digital campaign with particular focus on Pinterest (the web’s home page for wedding planning) and Instagram, where it’s already seeding the hashtag #adiamondisforever.
— De Beers (@DeBeers) June 14, 2015
“We’re doing a lot of work on creating new content for digital, both social media and our new website,” Forevermark CEO Stephen Lussier stated at the press announcement in Las Vegas. “If you don’t win in that space with the millennials, you won’t get your idea across.”
The new campaign will replace its current brand platform and ad campaign, “The Promise,” which was introduced in October.
In addition to reaching millennials on the social media platforms they favor, the branded high-value diamond trader needs to “communicate why spending money on a diamond—and paying a premium price for a Forevermark diamond—is worth it,” as National Jeweler points out.
“If you think about millennials and the marketing challenge for Forevermark and the industry, it’s the challenge of the temporary, the ever-changing, the disposable,” Lussier said. “Think of the Apple Watch; how many years until you want the new one, and how much will you get for the old one? It’s a cycle of constant change.”
“The other side of this is something with constant value. It’s about enduring. So I think for us to hold our share in this category, we need the concept of constant love, and the importance of owning things you don’t need to swap out every four years.” Its own research shows that millennials prefer experiences over material possessions, preferring to spend money on a trip to Europe than a piece of fine jewelry, so it’s got its work cut out.
The original tagline succeeded in driving diamond sales by ensconcing the gemstone at the top of the jewelry hierarchy by making diamonds the expected way to indicate serious romantic or marital intentions. It also helped that Shirley Bassey crooned Diamonds Are Forever for the 1971 James Bond movie of the same name, a sentiment that has been repeated in popular culture.
As a result, in 1999 Ad Age named De Beers’ creation the “Slogan of the Century.” While De Beers hasn’t used the phrase in marketing except on its website for years, this time around the Forevermark brand may benefit from the ubiquity of regard for diamonds, regardless of how company is marketing them.
Forevermark also has an opportunity to tie the equity of the iconic slogan to its own brand. “It can bring greater emotional attachment to our name and can help us propel our awareness much more strongly,” Charles Stanley, the president of Forevermark US, told Ad Age.
While De Beers was the first to introduce the four C’s of diamond assessment in 1939 (carat, clarity, color, cut), it’s another facet of the Forevermark brand that will resonate with millennials: social responsibility.
A cornerstone of the Forevermark brand is that its diamonds are not only beautiful and rare, but responsibly sourced—an important message because this is the generation that is more likely than their predecessors to think about the origins and politics of diamonds and invest in responsible jewelry, a commitment that De Beers highlights on its website.
“A new class of consumers who value ethically, socially, and environmentally friendly products are making their demands known in the gemstone business,” a 2010 article in Gems & Gemology stated. Indeed, it’s been almost a decade since the movie Blood Diamond brought the issue to the masses in 2006, and 10 years since the Bassey/James Bond song was sampled by Kanye West in his song Diamonds From Sierra Leone.
The 2005 Grammy Award-winning song addressed the mining of so-called “blood diamonds” or conflict diamonds in Africa was originally titled “Diamond is Forever,” the title of a song by Jay Z, and includes the plea to buy conflict-free diamonds.
De Beers was championing responsible diamond mining before that attention. As the New York Times noted in 2000, De Beers—after decades of promoting diamonds—”recast and began promoting itself as the squeaky-clean crusader for guarantees across the industry that ‘conflict diamonds,’ as they are also called, be kept out of the world of luxury goods.”
So while the love embodied by the gift of a diamond engagement ring may not last forever in modern America, the stone will—and so, apparently, will this tagline.