From a luxury asset to a symbol of eternity: How did this copywriter bring back a diamond’s appeal and sparkle? [Monday: Marketing Marvels]
Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more.
A Note from Miles Everson:
Happy Monday, everyone!
We hope you all had a good weekend.
Let’s start this day with inspiration from another “Marketing Marvel”—an outstanding person in the business and marketing industries. We believe it’s good to start our week with lessons and encouragement from the insights, experiences, and contributions of fellow professionals in our fields of expertise.
Today, we’ll talk about a woman who made an iconic MARK in the jewelry—particularly, diamond—industry.
Keep reading to know how this “Marvel” became a prominent figure in a previously male-dominated industry and how she created a slogan that “lasts a lifetime.”
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute
Diamonds have long been one of nature’s most revered creations.
Since the dawn of humanity, the gem’s beauty and strength have enchanted people all over the world. In fact, the ancient Greeks believed that diamonds have mystical protective powers.
Over time, the magic of diamonds has continued to grow, and they’ve come to mark lots of people’s cherished moments, bonds, and commitments. Strong and unbreakable, this gem represents timeless emotions.
Did you know how diamonds became commercialized as a symbol of love, eternity, and commitment?
It all started with the marketing slogan created by this woman…
Mary Frances Gerety (1916 to 1999) is the copywriter behind the iconic “A Diamond is Forever” slogan created for international jeweler De Beers. To this day, her slogan is used as reference for advertising diamond jewelries.
Photo from Gemporia
The Woman who had an Influence on “Forever”
Diamond engagement rings have not always been worn as a symbol of love. The gem only got that symbolism during the 15th century, when large diamond mines were discovered in South Africa and the precious stone was worn by royalties and aristocrats.
It was during the 19th century, after the Industrial Revolution, when diamonds became accessible to the wider public. However, after the devastation brought by two world wars, the precious gem lost its appeal and sparkle.
Enter Gerety as a female copywriter at Philadelphia-based advertising agency N.W. Ayer in 1943…
Photo from Diamond Rocks
As a female working in “a man’s world,” Gerety was hired to write copies for women’s products only, with De Beers as her main account.
One day, she was working overtime and had been on a series of travels to gather inspiration in creating a signature line for a new De Beers campaign.
Still determined despite being tired, sleepy, and in a fleeting moment of inspiration, Gerety wrote 4 words that eventually became an iconic De Beers trademark:
“A Diamond is Forever”
When she presented this line to N.W. Ayer the next morning, her associates talked about her copy with hesitancy due to its unusual style. However, since it was the only copy that achieved the goal of using diamonds as a symbol of love and marriage, it was adopted and put into print in 1947.
This line eventually transformed both the diamond and advertising industries…
The De Beers “Forevermark”
Prior to De Beers’ promotion using Gerety’s copy, only 10% of brides received diamond rings for their engagement. After the “A Diamond is Forever” ad, the number rose to 80%. Diamond sales in the US also grew from USD 23 million to USD 2.1 billion between 1939 and 1979.
Gerety’s “A Diamond is Forever” copy became the Advertising Age’s “Advertising Slogan of the 20th Century!” Because of that, De Beers’ reach expanded overseas and gained international recognition.
These results show that the marketing slogan hit the jackpot with its succinct and significant message.
Talk about making a BIG impact! That was awesome, Gerety!
*Clap clap clap*
The slogan was a significant change to the conceptual wisdom of advertising in the early 90s. It didn’t represent a particular brand, nor did it reference a particular sale. The goal was to simply convey the eternal, emotional value surrounding diamonds as a general category.
The brilliance of Gerety’s copy made both men and women think that a marriage without a diamond isn’t forever, so they were compelled to buy the precious stone.
In fact, N.W. Ayer’s documents revealed later on that the copy required “the conception of a new form of advertising, which has been widely imitated ever since. There was no direct sale to be made. There was no brand name to be impressed on the public’s minds. There was simply an idea—the emphasis on the eternity and sentiment surrounding diamonds.”
… and Gerety succeeded in meeting these requirements! The more the ad spread, the more the public came to see diamonds as a necessity in engagements and marriages.
If there’s one thing you can learn from Gerety’s story as a copywriter, it’s the importance of tugging not only on your target market’s logos or logic but also on their pathos or emotions. These are important factors that will help you connect with them and compel them to try your offerings.
Think about the “A Diamond is Forever” slogan: Who would’ve thought that a simple 4-word line would make an impact on how people would view diamonds during the 90s and even until today?
This shows that in marketing and copywriting, it’s crucial to connect with your target market on a relational level. Incorporating values of sentiment, eternity, or any other emotions in your marketing collaterals can help you compel people to act on your call-to-action.
So, the next time you see a familiar marriage proposal scene in movies or TV series, think about De Beers’ worldwide marketing campaign and how you can apply Gerety’s brilliance in promoting your brand’s offerings.
We hope you enjoyed learning about today’s “Marvel!”
Note: It pays to be a “diamond” in a world of short-term fixes and disposability. Because of its enduring value, a diamond is often seen as special.
Likewise, when your brand has enduring values that benefit both you and your target market, it will continue to thrive in an ever-changing business landscape and become a special symbol of enduring strength, reliability, and service that are more important than ever.
It’s time to make your brand “shine bright like a diamond!”
(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Monday Marketing Marvels”
Too often, industry experts and the marketing press sing the praises of some brand or company’s marketing strategy.
… only for the audience to later find out that its product was a flop, or worse, that the brand or company went bankrupt.
The true ROI in marketing can’t be separated from the business as a whole.
What good is a marketing case study if one can’t prove that the company’s efforts actually paid off?
At the end of the day, either the entire business is successful or it isn’t. And the roles of marketing and communication are always paramount to that success.
Every Monday, we publish a case study that highlights the world’s greatest marketing strategies, marketers, and communicators.
However, the difference between our articles and the numerous ones out there is that we will always make certain that the firm really did generate and demonstrate earning power worthy of study in the first place (compliments of Valens Research’s finance group) in keeping with a person’s leadership skills in the area of marketing and/or communication.
We’ll also study the greatest marketing fails and analyze what they did wrong, or what they needed to improve. We all make our mistakes, but better we learn from others’ mistakes—and earlier, rather than later.
Hope you found this week’s marketing marvel interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next week’s Monday Marketing Marvels!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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