A recent survey by the Oxygen television network said that three out of four women would prefer a “glitzy television” over a diamond solitaire necklace.
Why has there been a drop? After all TVs and IPODs eventually wear out. Diamonds are forever. They will last longer than any electronic gadget, and deliver a lifetime of satisfaction. (And we still don’t think that any woman would prefer an IPOD over an engagement ring.)
Any drop is likely to due to the decline of generic diamond advertising, including De Beers’ recent decision to cut its American marketing budget, and its promotion of branding, including its decision to start promoting the De Beers “Forevermark.”
When diamonds are promoted as a branded product, the competition among the suppliers becomes a form of infighting. The advertising tries to convince the consumer one company’s diamonds are better than the next person’s, rather than why diamonds as a product are better than other products. It’s like when Obama and Clinton fight, they are ultimately being distracted from attacking their real competitor — the other party.
When diamonds are promoted generically, it spreads the message that diamonds are intrinsically valuable and the ultimate gift of love. Everyone wins.
Lately, there has been a serious plan hatched by the International Diamond Manufacturing Association to launch a generic industry wide promotion campaign, just as the gold and platinum producers did with the Platinum Guild and the World Gold Council.
According to National Jeweler, what is being informally called the “global diamond manufacturing and promotion campaign,” will have its first meeting next month in Mumbai, India. The magazine said it will have support from all “major players.”
We hope so. Because while everyone selling diamonds is fighting for a piece of the pie, the whole industry will lose if the pie keeps shrinking because consumers have decided to look elsewhere.