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Ever heard the phrase “A Diamond is forever”, or “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”? These statements are the echoes of one of the most successful Marketing Campaigns that have ever been created. You might want to think again about why you think a diamond ring is non-negotiable for proposals. It’s a result of truly legendary Marketing. This campaign kicked off in the 20th century, but its effects last till today and the foreseeable future.


It was created by the De Beers Diamond Cartel, together with N.W. Ayer, a Creative Agency in New York. The situation at the time was dire: the Great Depression had just ended and demand for diamonds were at an all time low, leaving an unimaginable supply without sales. The Cartel had to find a way to sell all those diamonds whilst making a killing, but it had to be something legendary. Thus, the campaign was birthed. It was brought to life with a phrase that changed peoples belief and way of life: “A Diamond is Forever”. It was executed across many channels, including partnerships with the movie industry, earning references that were not even intended. One of such earned references is the 1949 stage play “Men Prefer Blondes”, which debuted the popular song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”. By 1951, 8 in 10 US brides received a diamond engagement ring.


Credit: De Beers Group

The De Beers Diamond Cartel has an incredibly successful campaign that echoes through centuries for two key reasons:


They tapped into the emotions associated with a landmark event in human existence.


A proposal is one of the most important moments in a person’s life. Many dream of this moment for years, and anticipate the proposal of their dreams. Beyond getting a valuable gift of a ring, it is associated with the assurance that someone chooses to be with them instead of anyone else: whether they are the ones being asked or they are the ones being told “yes”. Human beings want to be loved, adored and chosen. And this desire fuels the excitement and awe that come with a proposal. Understanding the depth of this moment, The De Beers company latched on and created an illusion. As Edward Epstein said, “Both women and men had to be made to perceive diamonds not as marketable precious stones but as an inseparable part of courtship and married life.” Thus, the belief that a proposal is incomplete without a diamond ring.


They backed up the visible campaign with back-end work to achieve believability.


The Diamond Cartel had full control of majority the Diamond mining and production industry. They effectively restricted the annual supply of diamonds to create (and maintain) an illusion of scarcity; creating legitimate grounds for marketing it as a luxury good and hiking up its price. Till date, there is a general perception that diamonds are not just valuable, but they are in investment. Great Marketing does not begin and end with communication; the business model or value chain might need adjustment too in order to achieve the end goal. With every campaign, it is important to set tangible objectives and KPIs. What are you trying to achieve? A percentage increase in sales? Brand awareness? Appealing to a new consumer segment? Change brand perception? Creating new uses for your product or service? The main reason for the campaign determines what the campaign will be centred on and how it will be delivered. This includes any internal structural work to support the Marketing claims.


Lots of brands wonder why they spend so much on Marketing and have low returns. One of the biggest culprits is a lack of Campaign Strategy. With a well-structured Campaign Strategy, objectives are set, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are clearly defined, what the creative idea is and how the campaign will be delivered are articulated carefully.


One of our key services at The Y Brand is helping brands create effective Campaign Strategies to deliver effective marketing campaigns, and ensure that Return on Investment (ROI) is positive. Send us an email today at hello@theybrandco.com to get started on your journey to effective Marketing.

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We believe that there is power in refined creativity.

Our approach is thorough, extensive and articulate.  We seek to understand your brand and your consumer, who is the hero of every story.  Through our meticulous processes, we draw out the most important information about your brand as well as your consumer, and ensure you have internal clarity and are externally communicating in an effective and intentional manner that connects with your audience.