New facets of old theme

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No one knows better than WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, that nearly 50% of all diamond sales occur during the 39 days between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Since winning the legendary DeBeers (now known as the Diamond Trading Company) account from N.W. Ayer in 1995, JWT ad makers regularly unveil new strategies and campaigns mid-November to ensure consumers never forget a diamond is forever.

In keeping with that tradition, JWT this week introduces several TV spots and slightly revises a successful one from last year. Aimed predominantly at men (the usual buyers of diamond jewelry) but with elements aimed at women as well, these TV ads are dominant aspects of a multipronged campaign that includes a Web site, banner ads, print ads, outdoor ads, and online sweepstakes.

"We basically tried to cover every way into the emotion of love," said Ed Evangelista, group creative director on the Diamond Trading account.

Romantic love, of course, is the usual theme of Diamond Trading advertisements, and last year's "Tree" spot, which shows a young couple running in a snow-covered field, where the man has lit a tree to surprise the woman, will run again. The Sept. 11 tragedies, however, led JWT to develop a new spot. Called "Hands" and centered around wordless communications between an older couple and a younger one, it conveys a love-is-most-important message. The subtext, of course, is that a diamond is the best symbol of such emotion.

In contrast to those evocative, dramatic ads, "Eye" and "Heartbeat" are direct. Intended to drive consumers to Diamond Trading's Web site, designed by digital@jwt, the spots convey the physical response created from viewing a diamond. "Enjoy this now" is the message. In the Design Gallery, viewers can fashion their own rings and then e-mail their creations to friends. An online promo with a prize of a $10,000 pair of diamond studs provides the company with data on site-visitor demographics.

The company spent $67 million in 2000 on measured media, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. For January through August this year, Diamond Trading spent $28 million. Executives said the level of spending for the rest of this year would be consistent with last year's levels.

While Diamond Trading messages are conveyed in the most up-to-the-minute vehicles possible (including the use of "lenticulars," holographic imagery incorporated into its out-of-home posters in New York and San Francisco), one aspect of the effort remains constant: the signature line, created in 1948 by N.W. Ayer & Co. copywriter Frances Gerety, "A Diamond Is Forever." It also serves as the company's promotional Web site URL: adiamondisforever.com.

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