The Birth of Diamond Marketing as We Know It
Diamonds haven’t been forever…well, forever. In fact, they’ve only been “Forever” (with a capital F) since 1948, when “A Diamond is Forever,” the tagline Advertising Age would later dub “Slogan of the Century,” was launched. The grammatically incorrect ad campaign was created by N.W. Ayer & Son, a Philadelphia advertising agency hand selected in 1938 by the chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines, Harry Oppenheimer.
N.W. Ayer himself was on the problem immediately, and stayed on it for nearly a decade, slinging diamond encrusted everythings at celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Rosalind Russel, and even the British Royal family. Five years after Oppenheimer showed up in his offices, Ayer hired Mary Frances Gerety, a Philadelphia-area woman who can be credited with the string of four words that altered the American Dream, bringing on a much-needed change for the fairly flailing diamond industry. (It wasn’t actually “flailing,” more just “anticipating a slight downward spiral,” as De Beers still owned 90 percent of the world’s diamond production. However, Oppenheimer did sense trouble in the midst due to the onset of war in Europe and distress in the Great Depression.) Gerety was hired “at the right time,” because Ayer had just lost a female copywriter, according to the The New York Times.
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