|It was in 1947 when copywriter Frances Gerety coined the phrase “A Diamond Is Forever.”|
As Ms. Gerety recalled in a 1988 interview, she had just finished a series of ads and was headed to bed when she realized that she had forgotten to create a signature line. Exhausted, she said “Dear God, send me a line” and scribbled something on a slip of paper. When she woke up and saw what she had written, she thought it was just O.K.
|N.W. Ayer conducted extensive surveys of consumer attitudes and found that most Americans thought diamonds were a luxury for the ultra-wealthy. Women wanted their men to spend money on “a washing machine, or a new car, anything but an engagement ring,” Ms. Gerety said in 1988. “It was considered just absolutely money down the drain.” |
Still, the agency set an ambitious goal: “to create a situation where almost every person pledging marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.”
|In the 1950s, N. W. Ayer started lending jewels to socialites and starlets for the Academy Awards and the Kentucky Derby. The campaign was a success from the start. After just two years, the sale of diamonds in the United States increased by 55 percent. |
In its 1951 annual report, N. W. Ayer noted that, “for a number of years we have found evidence that the diamond engagement ring tradition is consistently growing stronger. Jewelers now tell us ‘a girl is not engaged unless she has a diamond engagement ring.’ ”