Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Millennials and Diamonds, an Open Letter

Typically I just post about jewelry projects that interest me and try to keep my blog light and informative, but as a millennial working in the jewelry industry I am tired of being told what I want and what I should be looking for by the founding diamond companies. It’s getting too painful to ignore the broadening disconnect between iconic brands and the millennial customers they are trying to impress. It almost seems like “millennial” is a buzzword that no one really bothered to research.

I keep coming across campaigns catered to my age group, like parents talking over their children's heads, like they are not there, incapable of listening and understanding.  I see it, I hear you, and your are missing our thought process by miles.

The most recent campaign I have come across is Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond.  Released by Diamond Producers Association (DPA) trying to appeal to the millennial with a whimsical video of a carefree couple lost in the wanderlust of life.  The short video is comprised of flashes of incoherent images with a monologue detailing a topical description of their "real" relationship. DPA makes a desperate attempt to move away from the marketing archetype of diamonds = marriage, but it falls short. They are trying to loosen up and connect to millennials with a video that seems forced, insincere, and the diamonds weren't even the focal point. I lost interest in the strained story and actually ended up focusing more on the clothing in the video than the diamond necklaces that were being shown. In the end the same archaic message weakly came across, couples should solidify a relationship by gifting diamonds.

Another campaign I’ve seen recently is from De Beers. De Beers had the incredibly successful 1947 Ad campaign A Diamond is Forever by copy-writer Frances Gerety of N.W. Ayer & Son. At the time De Beers was top dog of the industry controlling the ebb and flow of diamond resources.  So of course they would be able to control the media for the diamond as well.  Now the diamond giant has been minimized due to bad press and in 2012 De Beers has shifted 85% of its ownership to another diamond company.

So now, with less clout than they had before, they tried to strike gold again with their 2015 campaign, Seize the Day.  The campaign failed to impress since it was more of the same boring concept, shoving engagement rings at the consumer so aggressively that they walk away. We live in a time where our worth is not determined by marriage, so why does the industry keep advertising that way?

Too be blunt, most of the diamonds I own I have bought myself with my hard earned money.  A treat I was proud to purchase for myself because I work with jewelry and like jewelry.  As for my longtime boyfriend, he does shower me with gifts whether it be jewelry or artwork, it does not matter, the gift was thoughtful and by no means defined our relationship.

A powerful Ad I think people would respond to would cater to the fact most millennial women buy themselves jewelry as a deserved treat.  The industry does realize that we are the bulk of the US diamond buying market, but they clearly still do not understand why.  They do not understand that we have satisfaction in working hard and earning something we desired.  It is completely gratifying to wear something you worked for. To go out with friends and say, “I worked overtime and absolutely owned my latest project, I treated myself to new earrings”.

Not at all to undermine the institution of marriage, I just went engagement ring shopping myself, but it needs to be realized engagement is not the cornerstone of the diamond market anymore, it’s a part of a whole view.  And if you keep only looking at one small facet of an idea, you are bound to miss a major amount of opportunity. I love diamonds, I love the industry, I love my job, but I am at a complete loss every time I see a new campaign catered to “the millennial”.