The Jewelry Commercials of 2009: A Retrospective

Lately I’ve become something of a connoisseur of jewelry commercials.  The men in these commercials are kind, considerate, romantic, and they plan ahead. In fact, they are so amazing that pretty soon the only thing the jewelers will be able to do is have all commercials feature George Clooney in a superman outfit, handing out diamond-encrusted diamonds to his 800 pound quadriplegic girlfriend. Jewelry commercials are a genre, an art form, biting social commentary, and televised female crack cocaine, all at the same time. I love them.

Have you seen this one?

Seriously? They’re spending Christmas together, they’re blissfully in love and he doesn’t know how to do sign language? What are they going to do for the rest of the day? How long have they been together? When on earth is he going to get around to learning how to talk to her? After a few more trips to Kay’s, I bet. I guess the other possibility is that she’s tried to break up with him a bunch of times and he just nods and smiles and signs “My name is Jason.”

This one’s nice too:

“I’m really going to amaze her this time. Gonna get that necklace out of the box, gonna put on all my snow stuff, gonna go outside, then stand by the window. Then, when she goes by the window- draw two shared hearts in the window steam that for some reason is on the outside of the window, and when she is touched by that display of affection, BAM- drop the necklace on her. Well, show it to her, and then go back inside and take off my snow stuff and give it to her. Gonna be great.”

Women in jewelry commercials are pretty great too. They have one characteristic: blown away. Doesn’t matter how you decide to present your jewelry (obviously you’re going to do something amazingly romantic and sweet, though)- she’s gonna be on the verge of tears every time. That’s just how women are. They’re also adorably mute.

This one might be my all time favorite:

He’s sensitive, he’s cute, he’s endearingly tuned in to the weather (both current and historical), and he gets that women, like dogs and small children, are frightened by thunder, and he always has a jewelry box ready to pull out whenever she’s feeling distraught. Others in this series: Part II: She trips on the stairs; he picks her up and says “Are you okay?” then produces a jewelry box and says “Hope it’s OKAY if I give you some jewelry now.” Part III: She burns the breakfast; he appears behind her with a hug and says “Smells like carbon,” suddenly he’s holding a jewelry box and says “I took the liberty of buying you some ultra-hardened carbon, to show you I’ll always be here when you burn the breakfast.” By the way, all of these lines are said with the same husky delivery that this guy uses to say “and I always will be.” (go back to :08 in the video) Deep, sensual, chin down, eyes up, lips extended, the most serious thing on earth. Really, one of my favorite commercial line-deliveries of all time.

Since seeing this commercial, I try to say at least one thing to Macy every day with that exact same tone of voice, just to keep the spark alive. Try it with me: “Do you know where my keys are?” Any guesses what that does to her? (Do you know the sign for “read my lips?”)

A few more for your delectation and discussion (in case you get into this stuff like I do): Commercial IV ; Commercial V

Anyway, that was a very good year, jewelry advertisers. Seriously, great job everyone. See you at the end of 2010!

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30 Responses to The Jewelry Commercials of 2009: A Retrospective

  1. Davis says:

    These videos just make me angry.

  2. Eliza says:

    LOL. this was dang funny. okay I do have to say the stormy commercial freaks me out. When I first saw it, I seriously thought it was a horror movie preview, where a boyfriend and cabin retreat go horribly wrong. I’m dead serious, he looks so freaky and has crazy eyes. funny stuff. the deaf one, so funny, good point that is a little weird he doesn’t know how to converse with her by now.

  3. ron says:

    this post was as funny as these ads are annoying.

    the ironic thing about kay’s advertising campaign is that the ads are so annoying that they make me not want to buy their jewelry. and this is coming from a guy who should be a part of their target market as there is a good chance i’ll be shopping for an engagement ring sometime this decade.

    kay’s creative department would be doing itself a huge favor by replacing a few of their moms from sandy with some males.

  4. craig says:

    rondoozer and davis raise a good point. all these commercials seem to accomplish is to anger their target audience (even davis, who has abnormally high levels of estrogen). in the mission handbook, this would be known as “less effective”.

  5. Ryan says:

    The only thing I can conclude is that men are not the target audience. In fact, there is no way these ads make any sense at all viewed in any other light. The jewelry peddlers know that there’s really nothing they can do to bring about a general increase in men of the desire to buy jewelry, so they resort to bringing about a general increase in jewelry-related fantasies in women, who then impose individualized pressure on men, resulting in an ultimate increase in jewelry sales. It’s a roundabout method, but it’s effective. (I sometimes wonder if the same principle isn’t being applied by Victoria’s Secret, whose in your face advertising seems so clearly targeted at men, rather than women).

  6. Andrea W. says:

    This was a really funny post! However, you left out one important annoying jewelry advertiser: “WE WENT TO JARED!” Granted it’s annoying for different reasons, but oh sooooo annoying.

  7. Wade says:

    I think these commercials are aimed squarely at men.

    Consider: They start with the not so subtle reminders of just how sucky we are as romantics compared to the sugared up ideal men. Then they show us how the women in our lives would react if we were but better romantics, making us feel even worse. And just when we’re about to throw in the towel and move back to our caves, we are shown a glimmer of hope! We may not be able to learn sign language like sappy sensitive man, or predict weather patterns like strong protect me with your embrace man, but we can get awfully close. Just go buy the dang necklace and we’re halfway there. A credit card swipe never seemed easier.

    Also consider: Every kiss begins with Kay. Or stated differently, if no Kay, then no kiss. The simple logic allows our simple minds to process to the conclusion that, if man want kiss, man need Kay.

  8. Braden says:

    LOL call it the Twilightification of mercantile culture

  9. Tyler says:

    I am pretty excited to use that direct manly voice to my wife, my female golden retriever, and my 2 1/2 month old daughter to see how it works. I am pretty sure they will all have the same response.

  10. Davis says:

    The astute female observer will note that the women in these commercials – women who recieve expensive jewelry – are adoring and for the most part mute. So, if you want some jewelry . . .

  11. Davis says:

    The target audience isn’t men, exactly. And it’s not women, either. It’s stupid people. Stupid people who like and do and say stupid things.

  12. Christian says:

    The Eric Bana dude who times everything around the weather is my favorite. I bought Reba’s wedding ring at Kay, and those commercials help me remember why.

  13. Troy says:

    I want to thank you for this expose’ on the jewelry industry. Ever since I was a poor college kid and dropped two semesters worth of tuition on a shiny rock, I’ve had a personal vendetta with these people. Seriously, in terms of value, what is a diamond? What does it do? It sparkles. You know what? So does cubic zirconia and it’s a fraction of the cost. But these people brainwashed my woman into thinking that just because CZ sparkles the same way doesn’t make it okay. It has to be dug out of a mountain in Africa by an indentured servant of a warlord for my girl to want to marry me. How twisted are these people?

  14. Ryan says:

    Troy, I feel exactly the same way about the diamond fraud, but I generally keep quiet about it, because it makes me sound a little too angry about it all, when in reality a few grand on a diamond was a small price to pay for my steal of a wife.

    Still, that said, this is one of the greatest frauds of all time. If you want to see how deep it goes, you must to read this piece on the topic, which is absolutely awesome. It will change the way you see diamonds for good. (especially the part about how they are fundamentally worthless the moment you buy them).

  15. Bryan says:

    Two thoughts. First, I wonder if women were hooked up to that lite-brite machine that analyzes areas of the brain, these commercials would trigger the exact same area as all the Twilight stuff. It might even be an area of the brain that men don’t have. Another one of those biological gender-differences, like long-hair or colorful fingernails.

    Second, don’t underestimate the line: “Smells like carbon.” The only second dates I ever had were because I used that beauty.

  16. Greg says:

    Ryan, that gave me a really good therapeutic laugh.

    It is sad that you and your friends don’t realize that the rest of the world, the real world, the polite world buys diamonds for our sweethearts for lots of special occasions. It’s certainly not a once in a lifetime exercise for us. I’m so sorry you don’t know that, because these commercials clearly aren’t for you; there for those of us who plan ahead for what we’ll do if there’s a storm at the cabin and our sweetie gets scared. That’s why these commercials are so great for us: they give us little pointers on how and when to present the diamonds we’ve bought for such special occasions. When you understand it in this context, you’ll see these commercials are nothing but a resource for good husbands.

  17. Rebecca says:

    I just cringe everytime I watch that thunderstorm commercial. Who wrote that and were they actually serious or was it some sort of crazy satire? And I love the observation about the fog on the outside of the window and about the sign language couple.

  18. I found your (awesome) blog from Craig and Mary’s. Nice work. Man, you hit the nail on the head for me with the jewelry commercials. I do love the steamy window one, especially because I think steamy window guy may be one and the same with another fave commercial hubby of mine: I love his inflection on “both?” Well, you’ve found yourselves a fan in me, sirs.

  19. Ben Pratt says:

    Ryan, that article in The Atlantic made me cry. It also made me try to destroy my wife’s wedding ring, but like the One Ring, it can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount De Beers. Seriously, though, I’ve been had, and I don’t like it.

  20. Shane Bills says:

    If I don’t pick up my phone next week, it’s because I’ve been incarcerated for murdering whoever composed the “Every kiss begins with Kay” jingle

  21. Ryan says:

    Oooh, Danica, that possiblility is mind-blowing. Do you think that guy’s resume promises expertise in “diverse super-annoying husband roles”? If that is the same guy (and there is at least a 50/50 chance that it is), I fear for his life. You can’t say “both” that way and not tick off a lot of people.

    And by the way, Andrea- thanks for pointing out the Jared commercials. I couldn’t find it online, but one of the very best in the genre is the one where the girl is doing a crossword and asks her roommate for a 14 letter word for ‘proposal,’ and the answer is “he went to Jared.” Iccck.

  22. Massey says:

    Thank you for exposing the fraud that is jewelry advertising. After reading the title of your post, I thought of my favorites of the year and you didn’t miss one of them in your commentary. The only one I hadn’t seen was the heart-themed one. What a great idea to cut a heart out of a piece of toast. Squirting a column of toothpaste on the mirror in the shape of a heart? Not so great: “Hey honey, I love you so much I drew this toothpaste heart for you, now good luck trying to get the toothpaste off of the mirror.” Seriously, have you ever tried to clean toothpaste off of a mirror? It’s like trying to get gum out of hair, only you can’t cut the infected piece of the mirror off.

    Another product that has its own commercial niche similar to jewerly is women’s fragrance. Why does every women’s fragrance commercial follow the same theme? Ryan, I hope you follow-up your jewerly commercial commentary with an analysis of women’s fragrance commercials. Just don’t watch any of these commercials at work.

  23. Ryan says:

    Yeah, I wonder if all of those little hearts (the heart in the snow, the heart on the mirror, the window heart) were the same guy who is just going heart-CRAZY, or if maybe they were all done by different people living different lives– an epidemic of romantic heart drawing spreading across the country. I assume the toothpaste on the mirror is meant to be permanent. It’s like how romance is heightened by the forever-ness of a diamond– here is a drawing in toothpaste, and it’s pretty much never going to come off, just like our love.

  24. Erin says:

    Not so sure why Bryan is being so critical of the toothpaste heart on the mirror, he always draws hearts with lipstick and that doesn’t come off very easily either.

    Really, though, this had me laughing so hard. We die every time one of these commercial comes on. Thanks for putting all of the reasons we laugh into a nice little package, tied with a bow.

  25. Ryan says:

    Erin, I’m sure your husband is just more of a lipstick kind of guy. Anyway, a real man would just carve the heart into the mirror with something hard enough to permanently etch glass– say, a diamond.

  26. Troy says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I too got a steal of a wife–in Johnny Lingo terms she is definitely an 8-cow woman…it’s just that cows actually have a value to them in that they produce milk, cheese, and meat, whereas diamonds are shiny rocks. So I’m not saying my wife isn’t worth the diamond, I’m saying the diamond isn’t worth my wife. If I spent the same amount of money on cattle and gifted them to my father-in-law in exchange for my wife I’d feel much better about that deal.

    As for my vendetta, you may be asking what I’ve done in the crusade against the diamond industry. Well, besides not buying any more shiny rocks, and scoffing at their commercials, I watched Blood Diamond on TV. You know, Leonardo DiCaprio. So thats supportive, right? Also, one time I saw Tom Shane in a dark alley and started punching him in the face until I ran out of breath. Then his swollen, bloody lips uttered “you’re gonna like the way you look, I guarantee it!” and I realized I had made a grave mistake in thinking it was Tom Shane when actually it was the Men’s Wearhouse guy (Tom Shane always does radio so he can’t be recognized in dark alleys) I was all “I’m so sorry Men’s Wearhouse guy–I love you–I…I thought you were someone else–I could have sworn I heard you say “on the corner of state street and 7200 south, open monday through friday till 8, saturday till 5, closed Sundays” but I guess not! I swear I wouldn’t have beat you up if I knew it was you! You were the one that finally weaned me of those nasty pleats and got me to wear flat-front slacks–and for that I owe you, and yet look what I’ve done!! What have I done?!?!?”

    Actually, that didn’t really happen. So, just the boycott and the commercial scoffing. And Leo. Take that, diamond industry.

  27. Zack Nelson says:

    Danica showed me this website, and now I’m a big fan too. Those are the worst commercials I have ever seen. Honestly, how does someone think that is a good idea? I think it’s unfair for the guy dating the deaf girl though, because he can’t pull the “and I always will be” moves on his woman. How is he ever going to make a relationship romantic without that line? That looked like an ad for a horror movie all the way until they said Kay Jewelers at the very end.

  28. Christian says:

    Tom Shane. Man, I remember Tom Shane. A voice like honey.

  29. Anne says:

    Re: to whom these things are aimed? I second the vote for “stupid people” and reject any notion that these are gender-specific.

    No woman I have ever spoken to has anything but complete, acid-riddled loathing for these commercials (and the belittling, lobotomized “he went to Jared!” twatwaffles.) I’m serious, they make us want to throw things through our televisions.

  30. AJ says:

    I vote with Anne. I don’t know any women who like jewelry ads or care about diamonds; mostly they share my disgust with the jewelry industry. Even the ones who love jewelry prefer unique, handmade items with semiprecious stones. Guys, ask your ladies what they want. You might find that she’d rather have a $100 opal than a $1,000 diamond.

    Or you might find she doesn’t want a ring at all. I told my husband not to bother with an engagement ring. We spent the money on a trip to Europe instead. The experience we shared together on our trip was worth a lot more to me than a shiny rock on my finger.

    Hilarious article. I love the deconstruction of these stupid ads.

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