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Best of The Best

‘Live Wedding’ Promotion Grabs Attention for Tennessee Jeweler

Bristol and Bragg Diamond Jewelers took their wedding bands to the airwaves.




Bristol & Bragg Diamond Jewelers; Maryville, TN

Best of the Best: 'Live Wedding' Promotion

IN AN ELECTION YEAR, couple Dana White and Michael Powers embraced the spirit of democracy by placing the plans for their wedding day in the hands of the voters — in this case, the viewers of WBIR’s Style show in Knoxville, TN, whose votes decided the major details of White’s and Powers’ April 30th nuptials, even the wedding bands.


Sharing Love Stories

Broadcast by NBC, Style is a popular lifestyle program available in most major television markets. One annual event that keeps the mostly female audience tuning in is a live spring wedding. This year, in the months leading up to the live wedding, audience members selected a couple they wanted to help “tie the knot.” In exchange the couple had to give up creative control of their big day, and let Style viewers make all the choices — from choosing a wedding cake to finding the perfect wedding rings.

Bristol & Bragg Diamond Jewelers was the jewelry sponsor of the event. “We were chosen [in part] for our Love Story ads we run in the local papers,” says Charity Thompson of Bristol & Bragg. “That connection with promoting romance is what, I think, helped our store to be chosen.”



Dealing With Tight Deadlines

Best of the Best: 'Live Wedding' PromotionThe couple’s live wedding was the second such event for the Style show. Bristol & Bragg participated in both live weddings. Despite having some cold feet about the expense of the promotion (more than $6,000 the first year, more than $8,000 this year), store owner Starr Bragg and Thompson, her daughter, decided to take the plunge.

This year’s event did not go entirely smoothly. The honeymoon was over for the jeweler when they had only two weeks to produce the couple’s rings. To complicate matters, White’s engagement ring (received before the “live wedding” promotion) was a designer ring from another jeweler. “The audience ended up selecting a platinum wedding band set with princess cut diamonds,” Thompson said. To provide the right look for White, “we had to find three wedding bands that were not only a close style match to the designer engagement ring but they had to fit just right against the engagement ring as well.”  

Powers’ three wedding band choices were an easier decision. Bristol & Bragg used the opportunity to promote the store’s exclusive line of Bien wedding bands by B&N Jewelry. Says Thompson: “Once viewers selected the 5mm knife-edge platinum band for Michael, the company worked quickly to do a custom job for us in two weeks.”


‘A Feel-Good Event for Us’

Image-wise, the promotion was a big winner for Bristol & Bragg. But those benefits did come at a cost. In 2003 the live wedding sponsorship outlays totaled $6,250 ($5,000 to the TV station and the cost of the rings). This year the same program cost more than $8,000. “We were surprised the price increased from year to year and no extra perks came with jump in fees,” says Thompson. “If we’re going to do this again next year, we plan on discussing price issues earlier on in the negotiation process.”  

As an event sponsor, Starr Bragg was asked to make an appearance on Style. “This year, Starr was on for about 15 minutes towards the end of one show in early March,” Thompson said. “She talked mainly about the jewelry itself and specifically how we chose each piece.”


Other image-boosting perks included frequent mentions in WBIR’s promotions of the live wedding as well as a direct link from the WBIR website’s Style section, where the live wedding event is highlighted in detail, to Bristol & Bragg’s homepage.

Thompson can’t link any sales directly to the event, but says: “A lot of our customers said they saw the show. Being associated with the love story of the couple appealed to the show’s demographics, and their demographics are the same as ours. Plus, it was a feel-good event for us. Michael and Dana have a great story to tell. It was an honor to be involved in their special day.”



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