This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

5 Ways Business Changed Us for Profit

How we get married
The practice of a smitten man on bended knee offering the object of his affection a diamond ring in exchange for a promise of marriage is now standard practice.

Credit clever advertising by diamond industry giant De Beers for making both the practice and the associated costs part of global courtships.

Investigative journalist Edward Jay Epstein laid out the history of De Beer's campaign for gemstone ubiquity in his book The Rise and Fall of Diamonds: The Shattering of a Brilliant Illusion (Simon & Schuster, 1982).

In the 1930s, after two decades of plummeting diamond sales due to World War I and the Great Depression, De Beers hired the firm N.W. Ayer to develop a national advertising, PR and marketing campaign intended to get its profits back on track. Engagement rings were already fairly common. What De Beers hoped to accomplish was to make the practice universal and more profitable. Because the majority of stones sold were of lesser quality and cost, the goal was to equate true love with a high price point.

Step one -- easily accomplished -- was to get movie stars and fashion designers to promote diamonds as an elegant and desirable accessory. From 1938 to 1941, diamond sales spiked by more than 50%.

The next step was the dropping of tidbits in newspaper society pages about elegant and enviable diamond engagement rings. DeBeers also unleashed a slogan that endures today: "A Diamond is Forever."

Year by year, unyielding campaigns helped fuel ever-increasing sales of diamond engagement rings. By 1965, De Beer estimated that roughly 80% of American women got a diamond ring as part of their proposal.

"N.W. Ayer noted also that its campaign had required 'the conception of a new form of advertising which has been widely imitated ever since. There was no direct sale to be made. There was no brand name to be impressed on the public mind. There was simply an idea -- the eternal emotional value surrounding the diamond,'" Epstein writes. "It further claimed that 'a new type of art was devised ... and a new color, diamond blue, was created and used in these campaigns.'"

Not content with sparking a sparkling tradition, De Beers and its agency set to work influencing what hopeful grooms-to-be should shell out. Initially, in the 1930s, they pushed the notion that a ring should cost the equivalent of one month's salary. More recently that's been redefined as two months of salary.

Using the template that brought it great success, De Beers applied a similar strategy to increase sales outside the U.S. as well as to introduce the concept that husbands owe their wife yet another diamond to celebrate their 25th anniversary.

4 of 6

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $95.03 -2.90%
MCD $127.92 -0.30%
KO $44.66 -0.04%
NKE $58.55 -1.20%
SHLD $18.06 -0.50%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,830.76 -210.79 -1.17%
S&P 500 2,075.81 -19.34 -0.92%
NASDAQ 4,805.2910 -57.85 -1.19%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs