Economic gold rush spurs rash of jewelry ad efforts

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Jewelry marketers plan to mine a lively economy and the retro-'80s trend in fall fashion to perk up sales with new marketing efforts this month.

Gold and diamonds will get the spotlight, with new ads and promotions to take advantage of renewed popularity of jewelry in the fall collections now in stores.

The World Gold Council, a trade group of gold mining companies, will break its first national consumer effort in five years, with a $3 million media buy in November and December magazines.

The ads, created by De Plano Group, New York, will preview as spreads in October issues of jewelry trade magazines including JQ, Modern Jeweler and National Jeweler. Consumer ads will break in November and December issues of lifestyle and luxury magazines including InStyle, The Robb Report, Town & Country and W.

The campaign, titled "The Gold Fashioned Girls," features celebrated women such as ballerina Darcey Bussell modeling gold jewelry brands such as Chimento, Ro-bert Lee Morris and Tissot Watch. Tissot also will use its appearance in the campaign to launch a new line of gold watches for women called Belleflower.


The council's effort is two-pronged: to encourage jewelers to add gold inventory to their stores and steer customers to those products, as well as to get the customers through the door in the first place, said Rick Bannerot, advertising and marketing manager USA. "It's a mood, it's image advertising. It's really a quality statement," he said.

The Gold Council's effort particularly targets women ages 25 to 35 who have discretionary income and fashion sense, Mr. Bannerot said, adding, "this is not about Aunt Martha's brooch." The ads try to entice women to buy gold pieces for themselves by showing the modern, fashionable pieces available, he said.

The U.S. gold jewelry market grew to $14.7 billion in 1999, a $1 billion increase over the previous year, Mr. Bannerot said. And, thanks to the strong economy, U.S. sales are expected to grow well past $15 billion, he added.

"It's a great moment for serious jewelry, we're living in a period of prosperity," said Marco De Plano, president of De Plano Group. All kinds of luxury brands are selling well, and jewelry is having a strong surge, he said.


"Gold is the oldest luxury brand name in the world," said Sarah Da Vanzo, director of strategic projects for AngloGold, a South African gold producer.

AngloGold is one of the partners in the World Gold Council effort, but has also launched events and promotions on its own this fall. The company has budgeted half of its $19 million marketing outlay for the council's campaign and will use the other half for events and promotions, as well as a new e-commerce Web site. That effort is being handled in-house.

The purpose of the latest campaign is to dispel the unflattering image of South African gold left over from the apartheid era and to increase AngloGold's profile after many years with no marketing support, Ms. Da Vanzo said.

AngloGold's effort is similar to the efforts of other material manufacturers, such as Intel Corp. and Dupont Lycra, whose marketing strategy is to encourage the consumer to seek out products made with their materials, Ms. Da Vanzo said. She noted other jewelry trade groups such as those representing Tahitian pearls, Colombian emeralds and Australian opals also market their wares in the U.S., regardless of their unbranded status.

Efforts include co-producing a QVC program scheduled for January to sell various South African jewelers' products, as well as sponsoring a fashion show of African designers that took place last week during New York's Fashion Week.

Additionally, AngloGold formed a joint venture with J.P. Morgan & Co. and other investors to launch an e-commerce Web site site devoted to gold jewelry. The site, called Gold Avenue (, will be launched in the first quarter of 2001.


Keepsake Diamond Jewelry, a marketer of diamond rings, has a series of promotions and co-op efforts with jewelers slated for this fall and winter. Earlier this month, the company joined a mall tour for brides-to-be sponsored by Bride's and launched a series of training seminars for jewelers to support its ongoing advertising efforts.

Keepsake runs ads in bridal magazines and fashion magazines, but the events and promotions are a good brand-building opportunity, said Rebecca Foerster, VP-marketing at Brash, New York, which handles Keepsake.

The company also has tie-ins with three upcoming movies in the fall and spring. Keepsake products will have a featured role in the film "The Wedding Planner," and its ads will be featured in the movies "Bounce" and the HBO film "61" due in the spring.


The product placement deal with "The Wedding Planner" also includes a two-part sweepstakes as a joint promotion with Bride's, Ms. Foerster said. The first contest, in the December-January issue, will give away jewelry, a makeover and a trip to California for the film's premiere. The second half, in the March issue, will include a different sweepstakes to promote the movie.

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