Agency: J Walter Thompson Author: Merry Baskin

De Beers – 'hard times: selling diamonds in a recession' – how a great British idea worked across Europe and beyond


There are several reasons why this case is uniquely interesting: there is no brand per se and every product is a one-off over whose finished form, design, price, packaging and distribution system the client has no control.

There is a dual target audience with differing needs and motivations in 23 culturally and historically disparate countries.

Nor is this a case of a demonstrable link between advertising effectiveness and client profitability, but rather one where advertising has worked to maintain viability for its sponsor and stability for an entire industry worldwide.

We will demonstrate how a change in advertising deployment, unifying all countries under a single approach (in spite of their idiosyncrasies), during one of the worst economic recessions worldwide, worked to build shareholder and trade confidence and maintain a healthy balance between short-term sales and long-term image exclusivity among consumers.