This week, we survey the landscape in jewelry commercials for the 2015 holiday season and rank the offerings from top to bottom. Best of the bunch: a gloriously campy treat from Cartier that features a Broadway-esque dance number and diamond earrings flying over Paris. Worst of the lot, by a mile: Blue Nile's ridiculous hatchet job on American retail jewelers.
1. "Diamonds" from CartierOver-the-top in the very best way. A glitzy spectacular that unfolds on the rooftops and in the skies over Paris. Features an updated version of the classic song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" with fancifully updated lyrics: "If you still want to part-ee-ay, go straight to Cartier." And there's even a brief cameo by Cartier's iconic panther because ... of course.
2. "The Gift" from TiffanyAll the right elements. An attractive couple, a gorgeously streetlit Manhattan in the snow, and a sweet torch song. Ending line has got a lot of punch: "There are gifts you give. And there are gifts you can't wait to give." Nicely done.
3. "It's a Long Journey To Become the One" from ForevermarkEpic, but weird. Feels like Forevermark's attempt at a new take on Apple's "1984" commercial. This viewer's decidedly lowbrow reaction to scenes of men crawling out of the dark cavern and then, first stumbling, finally racing each other toward their ultimate goal: is this a metaphor for the reproductive process? A little while later, it became clear: "Oh, it's a diamond talking." Also a bit off: the fantastically handsome suitor opening his palm to reveal to his ladylove, instead of an engagement ring, a loose diamond.
4. "Diamonds in Rhythm" from Kay JewelersMiddle of the road, but hey, the middle of the road isn't the worst place to be. Cute family perkily interacting in homey yellow-lit rooms. Fake snow falling outside. Brand position is stated in a memorable manner: "The number-one memory maker in America". And, of course, there's the omnipresent jingle: "Every kiss begins with Kay". Try to get that one out of your head after you've heard it a couple of times.
5. "Two Diamond Ring" from Reeds JewelersReed's commercial template for this year's holiday season is interchangeable with those of its rivals. Chirpy neo-folk soundtrack with female vocalist. (Seriously, you could switch the soundtracks for the Kay, Pandora and Zales commercials without anyone noticing a speck of difference.) Slow panning shots of Christmas decor and attractive mid-lifers cuddling, drinking coffee and watching snow float to earth. In this particular spot, Reeds makes the two-diamond argument that still eludes this reviewer — "one diamond for your best friend, one for your true love". Commercial closes with Reeds' fairly powerful brand-positioning statement: "Your family-owned jeweler, trusted for generations".
6. "Wherever Life Takes You, Take It With You" from PandoraA family's journey through life, represented by new additions (cute puppy followed by cute child) to the group and ever-more-thickly-beladen Pandora bracelets. Cute, but underwhelming.
7. "Tolkowsky Cut Diamonds" from Kay JewelersGood idea: the mass-market jewelers endeavor to explain the magic of diamond cuts from an industry genius to the American public. Bad idea: they try to do it in only 15 seconds.
8. "Unstoppable Love Collection" from ZalesMy take away from this commercial is ... who is this family's landscaper? I want his number. Because that backyard looks amazing. As for the slogan: "That's a diamond kind of love"? And such a kind of love "must be declared"? And that Zales is the only place where you can find the appropriate means with which to declare it. Meh.
9. "Endless Brilliance Collection " from ZalesSome additional "A diamond kind of love" from Zales, featuring a guy who has defaced half a ski slope to show his mountain-sized passion for his partner. Meh.
999. "Ring Shopping Shouldn't Be Scary" from Blue NileAbsolute bottom of the barrel. Watch this one and feel your blood fry. Shopping at a local family business is ridiculous? Really? The average jewelry salesperson is 97 years old and possesses a horribly fake smile filled with yellow tombstone teeth? Really? Closing slogan: "Value Redefined. Thankfully Online." Thankfully online? What an upside-down world we live in.
Thirty-three year old Lil Wayne is almost as famous for his love of jewelry as he is for his rap output. Few artists have sung, or whatever you call what Lil Wayne actually does, as much about precious baubles and bling as he has. This week's jewelry lyric comes from his song "What Does Life Mean To Me?" from his pre-breakout 2002 record, 500 Degreez. As a statement of purpose, it ain't much — against a deep soul beat and quickly listing Wayne's primary interests in worldly affairs — marijuana, cars, sex, and women with sizable posteriors. And, oh yes, jewelry.
Want more lyric art? Check out additional selections from Toby Keith, Dean Martin, Fleet Foxes and Jermaine Dupri in the gallery below.
From country superstar Toby Keith's 1995 holiday album, Christmas to Christmas, "Christmas Rock" is a jaunty little ditty that tells a mordant tale of a husband's effort to economize during a tight holiday season. His wife, unfortunately, has other ideas. Other sparkly, expensive ideas that you are undoubtedly familiar with.
And in her eye she got a big ol' tear
She wants a Christmas rock
But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll
Okay, it might not rank up there with love, sunsets, the sparkle of a beautiful woman's eyes, or rocking' out till the break of dawn, but jewelry is well-represented in popular song. We begin our art series (with downloadable desktop backgrounds) with a tune from an old favorite, Dean Martin. Known as "The King of Cool", Martin was both a member of "The Rat Pack" as well as one half of the country's top comedy duo, along with Jerry Lewis. While "Buono Sera" may not have been one of Martin's biggest hits, it was a favorite of many and includes a special sentiment that might have some meaning for a few jewelers of a certain age out there. Not feeling the Dino? No problem. Check out lyric art from the highly eclectic combination of Fleet Foxes and Jermaine Dupri in the gallery below.