Ever heard a story that is so fascinating you had to make sure people heard about it? This is one such story, about an iconic tagline.

“A diamond is forever,” where do you think you’ve heard that? You’ve probably seen it everywhere– on Valentine’s Day, on television, on advertising boards, as part of a James Bond film, and more. Or perhaps you know it for what it is, a tagline that is part of an excellent branding and advertising strategy. Even Kanye West has a song based on the tagline (so you know it’s been around). The point is, a tagline is an essential part of branding can be a powerful tool to direct your audience to you.

What branded product are we talking about?

World over, diamonds have become an integral part of most ‘traditional’ and mainstream marriage proposals. Why is that? Diamonds haven’t been rare since the 1870’s. So what gives? What’s the appeal? Why are people still buying diamonds, a luxury good that is not an essential?

Is it because it’s shiny? Well, possibly, but there’s actually a reason for the popularity of diamonds.

It’s De Beers’ history defining marketing campaign revolving around this tagline which changed the diamond industry forever.

In the beginning, there was a product, but not a brand

Since the 1870’s, after huge diamond reserves were found in South Africa, De Beers realized that in order to circumvent market saturation they needed to control the supply and demand of diamonds. All diamonds. They needed to monopolize diamonds while maintaining market stability. In short, they needed an ad agency.

While the World Wars were raging and the economy, especially the market for diamonds, wasn’t thriving, De Beers sought out the help of NW Ayer to help them successfully attune the falling market to a psychological need– constancy. In the tumult and the upheaval and constant chaos surrounding the first half of the twentieth century, people craved constancy.

The general public at that time assumed diamonds are only for the rich and spent their money on cars and necessary goods. The challenge that NW Ayer faced was to connect the diamonds to something emotional and undying. Something that mattered to everybody, rich or poor Something that was forever.

Enter “A diamond is forever”.

Hitting Brand Gold: The Perfect Tagline

Love, and especially marriage, encompass something that is personal and immortal. By linking diamonds to marriage proposals, NW Ayer imbued the gems with incredible symbolic meaning. But more than that, NW Ayer used the tagline everywhere. In movies, famous celebrities would speak the line; in posters, women with diamonds were shown to be happy and glamourous.

You get my point.

A single line not only made, but is still making, people buy diamonds. It also prevented them from reselling it once bought. A glorious masterstroke. For those who don’t know, a diamond is worth 50% lesser once you’ve left the jewelry store.

The campaign had such an indelible impact on society, that De Beers’ website is still called www.adiamondisforever.com. It not only met De Beers’ goals and then some, but also revolutionized advertising forever.

A tagline transcends normal communication. It goes where nothing else does. It carries your brand’s image and position. In short, it is as important as anything else when it comes to your company.

PS – Even though I know all of this, I still want to buy something diamond-y when I can afford it. The power of a tagline.