De Beers: Celebrate dawn of millennium with gift of diamond

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De Beers Consolidated Mines invades Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this week with its own brand of millennium madness. The diamond cartel will take over the airport's train station with ads in the cars, on the walls and even painted on the floor.

The yearend diamond push, also running via outdoor advertising nationwide, is designed to link the significance of the millennium with giving a diamond.

J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, created the campaign, sporting ad copy such as "2000 A.D. (As in after diamond)"; "What are you waiting for, the year 3000?"; and "Live each millennium as if it's your last."

ADDING SIGNIFICANCE

Spending for the monthlong campaign wasn't disclosed. De Beers spent $68 million in measured media in 1998 and $23 million through the first six months of 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

"Giving a diamond adds significance to any occasion this year because it's a millennium year," said Chris D'Rozario, JWT creative director.

He said the ad team was concerned about the overhype of the millennium and consumers' ebbing tolerance for those messages.

"There is abundant evidence that everybody is really just sick of the millennium," said Ira Matathia, president of Young & Rubicam's Brand Futures Group. "I think many marketers just looked at this and said this is just too tough to touch-there is no winning . . . It's always better to market in a positive environment."

RELEVANT MESSAGE

"We had to be very careful about how we play it," said Ed Evangelista, JWT creative director, "because all the brands will be trying to sway consumers with all kinds of millennium messages. But they're vamping the millennium; our message is relevant."

The decision to take over a big space of the Chicago terminal was an easy one, the two creative directors said. The specific buy is referred to as "total domination" and effectively targets the busiest airport in the country.

This millennium effort continues the De Beers campaign begun in early 1999.

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