Real Is Rare. Real Is a Diamond. So says the Diamond Producers Association (DPA). But how rare is a diamond? And how real is its significance?
At one time, diamonds were extremely scarce. That was until 1870, when huge deposits were discovered in South Africa. Foreseeing the impending depreciation of their investments, diamond mine financiers formed a monopoly, the De Beers Group. For over a century, De Beers bought up competition, fixed prices, and effectively manipulated public perception to reap profits otherwise impossible.
Today the influence of De Beers has waned, but the legacy of its business practices has ensured that diamonds are still overpriced and that consumers are still willing to pay. A Diamond Is Forever, the slogan introduced by De Beers in 1947, remains woven into the fabric of western culture and arguably the world.
Millennials, however, have shown signs of disinterest. Constrained by limited budgets and less receptive to traditional status symbols, they represent a challenge for the DPA. By capitalizing on the internet-induced alienation common to this age group, the Real Is Rare campaign seeks to align the diamond with relationships that are authentic and long-lasting—a rarity in the superficial world of cyberspace.
One Real Is Rare advertisement shows interlocked hands emerging from a landscape of mountains and dunes. The image is clever but nonetheless smacks of willful mystification. Are the ties of romantic love really commensurate with the sands of time? The photo-shopped creation may exemplify the DPA’s marketing reinvention, but overstatement of the subject matter remains consistent with prior marketing efforts. This is not to say that marriage is not sacred or at the very least serious, but that people often tie the knot with unrealistic expectations.
And no wonder. Inundated with advertising that idealizes intimacy for the sake of selling products, populations far and wide blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Indeed, an individual can become quite confused, especially when seduced by notions of authenticity peddled by an industry founded on a hoax.
Taking into account the rate of human progress from the Enlightenment to the Information Age, might the next epoch already be underway: the Age of Fraud? We live in a world rife with scams, knockoffs, and rackets that have spawned the term fake news. In this regard, the diamond industry surely stands as a forerunner.
So what is real? The problem with that question is that we often don’t know until it’s too late. Right now, real is COVID-19, or, a fear of dystopia precipitated in the human psyche by global warming, natural disasters, and political unrest. Because whether concrete or abstract, if something is real, it must also be important. The difference between importance and triviality, however, is often unclear when we turn to the marketplace for existential guidance.
Real Is Rare. Real Is a Diamond: Watch Common Commercials