“In honor of tonight’s Millennial focus, I’ve written my notes on my iPad,” opened De Beers’ executive vice president, marketing Stephen Lussier, addressing the audience at Wednesday’s Diamond Producers Association launch event.
The event looked to bridge the gap between the DPA’s seven major diamond mining members and Millennial consumers — whose tepid appetite for the rare stone has stricken the industry with concern.
According to Lussier, the Millennial generation will be the largest consumers of diamonds worldwide for the next 25 years. The DPA was established last year with the objective to better target the age group, for whom the “diamond dream” has lost its luster.
Pointing out that a new diamond mine costs billions to develop, Lussier said: “We would like to know that there is demand for this product before it’s taken out of the earth.”
Wednesday’s objective was to unveil the DPA’s first round of advertising, with the tag line “Real Is Rare.” Conceived by New York agency Mother, the ads — which will primarily air on Bravo — are meant to retrain Millennials’ understanding of the rare stone.
“This is a generation that has never been exposed to a category of [diamond] marketing geared toward them,” said DPA chief executive officer Jean-Marc Lieberherr.
When asked how he intends to convince an American generation saddled by more than $1 trillion of student loans, much of which does not foresee home ownership in its future, Lieberherr felt he had a fix.
“The whole point is to put the meaning of a diamond in perspective. People spend a lot of money on completely disposable things — changing phones every year, spending a lot of money on tattoos for that matter. We live in a world where everything is ephemeral, everything is disposable and completely dematerialized.
“Millennials are looking for something genuine and authentic. What’s unique about diamonds is that they are a natural resource finite in nature and when you tell [Millennials] that diamonds are billions of years old and from the earth, they really respond.”
The DPA’s advertisements intend to change conventional understanding of the diamond as a symbol of betrothal. “They are an expression of genuine emotion, a relationship, one of the very meaningful things worth having,” Lieberherr said.
As such, the two commercials depict different couples. The first begins on a farm, trailing a woman in a satin bomber jacket and a man with billowing hair — both frolicking with a rooster. Amid a saucy scene in an apartment, a necklace strung with a trio of diamond rings appears on the woman’s neck.
The other traces a man and woman as they run through a cornfield, the female protagonist admitting to fundamental trouble and doubt in the relationship. A diamond materializes nonetheless.