We have all heard the slogan "A Diamond is Forever.” But where did this phrase come from, what exactly does it mean and how long has it been around?
In the 21st century we are starting to experience new social attitudes with diamonds. The Diamond Producers Association took note of the decline in diamond sales with millennials, and started a new campaign titled "Real is Rare” in 2016.
Let us go back to when it all began, after World War II and the Great Depression. According to a New York Times article, back in 1947, Frances Gerety, a copywriter for the marketing agency N.W. Ayer, was tasked to produce a slogan for De Beers’ advertising campaign. Her goal was to boost the sales of diamonds which had fallen during the Great Depression.
Exhausted after a long day of finishing a series of ads, Gerety remembered she had to create a signature line. She quickly prayed "Dear God, send me a line.” And so that evening, she scribbled a sentence.
The next morning she woke up and read again what she had written, "A Diamond is Forever.” Thinking to herself how it was "just O.K.,” she went on to the agency’s meeting that day and according to her, "Nobody jumped.” Filled in a room with mostly men, they thought the word "Forever” was grammatically questionable.
Though it was unclear why the slogan was chosen, it was a decision that paved the way for the next 70 years of increased diamond sales for De Beers.
The slogan changed social attitudes forever. It created an association between their product and a psychology desiring an eternal romantic love and companionship. Gerety used it as the foundation of all their future advertisement. Grabbing the attention of men returning from war, a diamond ring was the perfect symbol of a new life and something to last a lifetime. It also discouraged something that would have potentially hurt the De Beers diamond market---reselling your diamond and exposing a lower cost of the stones themselves.
In the 1980s N.W. Ayer’s campaign went on to reset the norm for how much men should spend on these rings---two months’ salary. The ad said "Isn’t two months’ salary a small price to pay for something that lasts forever?” Yet again, changing the social attitude with one simple word, "Forever.”
In 1999, Advertising Age proclaimed Gerety’s slogan "The Slogan of the Century.”
Now-a-days, advertising agencies, companies, and associations like the Diamond Producers Association, focus on new concepts and audiences. For example, the "Real is Rare” campaign, developed in 2016, created a new emotional feeling: diamonds and your soulmate should be "Real.” The commercials are geared towards millennial couples and their "Wild” adventures together. Long are the days that diamonds mean marriage in this campaign. The slogan is recreating an old social norm with its emerging attitude that "Real” diamonds are the truest symbols of a deep emotional commitment between two young people. Forbes interviewed Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Marquardt on the marketing goals for "Real is Rare.” ‘She stated that the goal is "to open the lens on how we view commitment, love and connection,” reflecting the target demographics’ more open-minded views about relationships.’
In conclusion, the slogan "A Diamond is Forever” has lasted for over a half century. But will it remain "Forever,” or will new phrases like "Real is Rare” take off with the many millennials of our time? Does a diamond represent marriage? Or does it represent the realness of the relationship? ....Is Forever Still Real?