Monday, December 8, 2008

Brother can you spare a diamond?

To go off point for a moment, have you seen the new print ad from the De Beers diamond company? To boost sales in a faltering worldwide economy, they’re running an ad headlined “Fewer, Better Things” that talks of “stuff you buy but do not cherish” and informs us that “things will be different now, wiser choices made with greater care.”

The implied message is that in this grim economic environment, the purchase of a diamond is somehow a smart decision, a wise investment, and that the list of “fewer, better things” in our lives should include a shiny rock. It’s a rather curious and transparently shallow sales pitch that is sure to appeal to…who exactly?

My gut tells me that those who buy diamonds do so for primarily emotional reasons—and this healthy dose of logic might actually have the opposite of its intended effect, as potential customers come to the realization that the important things in life have little to do with diamonds—and the “wiser choices” we will make have more to do with the care and companionship of our loved ones and friends.

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