De Beers ‘Where it Begins’: All sparkle and no shine

de beersWhether diamonds “are forever” or simply “a girl’s best friend” is open to debate, but one thing is certain, for millions of people they are still one of the most coveted gemstones in the world yet not without controversy.

Of course, when you are the world’s leading diamond company, with annual sales of about $6bn, you are more focused on the former than the latter, although in recent years De Beers has strived to improve its image.

To reinforce that, here comes a worldwide campaign featuring the brand’s newly appointed global ambassador, Academy-Award winning actor Lupita Nyong’o – star of 12 Years A Slave, Black Panther and Us – under the strapline “De Beers: Where it Begins”.

Apparently a core element of the partnership is De Beers’ commitment to advance women and girls where its diamonds are discovered. De Beers and Nyong’o will work together to engage 10,000 girls in STEM, support 10,000 women entrepreneurs and invest at least $10m across southern Africa to achieve these goals by 2030. And about time, too, many would say.

The campaign claims to tell the story of source, discovery, and transformation, with the creative developed by luxury agency Mazarine in collaboration with De Beers’ in-house creative division.

Australian photographer and director Lachlan Bailey follows Lupita Nyong’o from the discovery of a rough diamond to its transformation into magnificent jewellery. The film follows Lupita as she embarks on her journey “to discover the power that a De Beers natural diamond jewellery creation holds”.

The global campaign, led out of Havas Media Group UK, will run across seven territories, including UK, US, France, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, tailoring the media activation to ensure relevance for each market with an orchestration of high-impact OOH, print, VOD, paid social, display and multiple digital partnerships until the end of December.

De Beers chief executive of brands Marc Jacheet said: “This campaign represents a number of firsts for the De Beers brand – the first time we’ve partnered with a global ambassador, the first time we’ve depicted the full breadth and scope of the brand from diamond discovery to finished jewellery, and the first time we’ve showcased a rough diamond in a campaign.

“It’s a powerful new focus for De Beers that represents source, discovery, potential and authenticity, while driving desire for De Beers natural diamonds.”

Havas Media Group UK managing partner Jenna Zellner added: “With this campaign, we’re delivering a shift in mindset, a new introduction for the growing segment of modern luxury audiences who expect more from brands and engage with them in new ways – particularly during the festive shopping and gifting season.

“We’ve curated media experiences in each market that showcase values of the brand, such as sustainability, and we’re progressing meaningful outcomes with attention measurement, enabling optimal impact and smarter investment strategies.”

So, what is the consensus around the Decision Marketing office?

Well, let’s get this out of the way first, as mere trade journalists we are hardly in the target market – after all, the Enchanted Lotus Drop Earrings in white gold featured in the ads come in at a whopping £83,000. Nice work if you can get it…

Even so, from what we’ve seen of the campaign, they don’t seem to make much effort in portraying “Where it Begins”. In fact, all you get is a shot of Nyong’o holding a rough diamond wearing “normal” clothes and then within seconds she’s striding around what is presumably the Kalahari Desert draped in luxury jewellery with a designer outfit on looking rather moody.

Obviously the target market are a sensitive lot, too, as there is not a single mention – or visual – of the poor buggers in the mines, let alone of the activity to “engage 10,000 girls in STEM, support 10,000 women entrepreneurs and invest at least $10m across southern Africa”.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s another execution featuring Nyong’o getting down with the miners – and the minors – but there is little evidence of it here.

We guess that when your shelling out tens of thousands of pounds on diamonds you don’t really want to see their origins. And, if that’s the case, why call it “Where it Begins” then?

Decision Marketing Adometer: A “give us costume jewellery any day” 5 out of 10

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