A diamond pendant is draped over a white t-shirt-clad 20-something woman as she runs through a corn field and swims with her clothes on while purring, “There was a moment in there that goodbye was inevitable … maybe we won’t ever get married and maybe we will.”
In another ad, the male narrator explains, “There was a time I panicked: Was this too much too fast … Who knows if we’ll ever slow down, I’m not thinking about that right now,” after a woman brushes her three-ring diamond necklace over his lips.
Those little doubting soliloquies from a couple of new sepia-toned diamond ad spots may seem like the antithesis of marketing in an industry that has been injecting itself into marriage proposals since the 1940s, when DeBeers launched its famous “a diamond is forever” campaign and solidified a steady stream of demand for the precious gem.
But the millennial generation poses an existential dilemma for the industry: they tend to spend on experiences rather than luxury items, achieve financial maturity later in life and are less likely to get married than previous generations. DeBeers’ 2016 Diamond Insight report noted that millennials, defined in the report as those born between 1981 and 2000, are set to become the most important cohort for diamond jewellery retail sales, which dipped slightly to US$79 billion in 2015.
“The challenge is that diamond jewellery appears to be low on the buying lists among so-called millennials,” the report said. It advised industry players to “safeguard and nurture the diamond dream” in the face of potential challenges ahead.
The two ads above are part of the “Real is Rare” campaign by the Diamond Producers’ Association (DPA) — its first ever ad blitz — which attempts to reframe diamonds’ relevance for a generation less focused on forever and more focused on now.
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