How to sell Diamonds in the Depression.

At one time in American history, diamonds were just another precious jewel.  But it was a much different scene than we see today.  Today, diamonds are synonymous with romance and love.  How did that happen?

In 1938, N.W. Ayer’s market research revealed that the depressed state of the economy created a 50% decline in diamond sales and an even greater decline in their dollar value. Knowing they couldn’t do anything about depression, they determined to reposition themselves in the market.  After a few rough years, the son of the De Beers dynasty met with his ad agency to create a campaign to combat this trend.

The goal was to shift society’s thinking about diamonds.  De Beers wanted to position their product as a “gift of love.” This marketing firm set them on a campaign that would change history forever.

The word “Diamonds”  and “forever” became forever linked in our culture. And what is even more remarkable…the way they positioned themselves as a benchmark of love, they reversed the dire trends.  Diamonds were more valuable than ever.

Still today, men are expected to pay about 3 months salary on an engagement ring.  These rings are passed down from family to family as symbols of a love that stood the test of time.  Consequently they made it an essential benchmark for men to show women they are loved.

Lessons to be learned:
Economy doesn’t have to be the death of your product.
Price has less to do with what people buy than you think.
It’s not what your product is, it is what your product says.
LOVE can add warmth to even marketing a cold hard stone.
“Sex sells” today, but marketing LOVE ensures your place in the market forever.
Tie your product to the most important things in life, and you will be fine.

References: Business Insider:War Room, Advertising Age, Photo by

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