Sometimes, change can be good. Just how often it happens (or really “works”) is always an interesting variable to observe — both in people and in brands.
Time remains to be seen how it works out for legendary diamond jeweler Tiffany & Co. (not to be confused with Tiffany). The decidedly Old School brand really stepped out of its comfort zone this year, pivoting in an attempt to connect with Millennials and Gen Z consumers by tapping rapper/mogul Jay-Z and his beautiful bride Beyoncé to star in a series of edgy ads.
Not Your Mother’s Tiffany
The Music and Entertainment Power Couple agreed to play a starring role in the new campaign, which was concepted/produced/directed by talents such as photographer Mason Poole, video artist Emmanuel Adjei and Jay-Z himself.
Oh, and then there’s Jean-Michael Basquiat.
Among other things, the multimedia campaign features a previously unseen 1982 painting (entitled “Equals Pi”) by the legendary New York-based Neo-expressionism artist, who tragically passed away in 1988 at the tender age of 27.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé have been married since 2008. Tiffany & Co. has been in the business of selling diamonds and luxury jewelry pieces since way back in 1837 — but was purchased just a few months ago by French luxury retail conglomerate LVMH. It’s safe to say the good folks at LVMH are hoping to steer Tiffany’s established image far away from the days of Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly joining them for breakfast.
Of course, what’s old can sometimes become new (and cool) all over again. Like when Beyoncé covers the Henry Mancini-composed classic “Moon River” as part of the cutting-edge campaign, merging the old and new worlds in a truly timeless and unique way that only she can.
In addition to “Equals Pi”, the “ABOUT LOVE” campaign features firsts like Beyoncé styling and profiling the iconic, “priceless” 128.54-carat, 82-facet “Yellow Tiffany Diamond” (she became the first Black woman to don the prized and “priceless” jewel, along with only the fourth woman of any race to do so in the past century, and the first since Lady Gaga at the 2019 Academy Awards). The creative partnership between Tiffany & Co. and The Power Couple known as “the Carters” (Jay-Z’s birth name is Shawn Carter) also includes a truly impressive commitment from the iconic brand:
Tiffany & Co. agreed to give a full $2 million toward scholarships and intern programs centered around Historically Black Colleges and Universities (often abbreviated as HBCUs).
How Will It All Work Out?
The way Tiffany’s sees it, Americans, particularly Millennials, have watched Beyoncé and Jay-Z go through public trials and tribulations in their music, also seeing them emerge triumphant together in the end. So why not make them the very public, very powerful faces of the new-look, new-feel Tiffany & Co. brand?
“Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the epitome of the modern love story,” explains Tiffany’s EVP of Product and Communications Alexandre Arnault. “As a brand that has always stood for love, strength and self-expression, we could not think of a more iconic couple that better represents Tiffany’s values. We are honored to have the Carters as a part of the Tiffany family.”
Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not this creative and costly gamble by Tiffany & Co. is really worth it in the end. The brand is betting that they can see at least somewhat similar results and returns to those enjoyed by other “Old School” brands who have shifted their focus to hone in closer (or at least begin to connect with) Millennial and Gen Z consumers.
They’re also making this gambit on the heels of a May, 2021 introduction of the first-ever Tiffany & Co. engagement rings for men, which they termed “a modern and bold departure from the traditional wedding band.” Jay-Z himself is even seen wearing one of these rings in one of the campaign’s creative pieces. The brand has also recently revamped its own website and in-store experiences with an eye towards delivering truly seamless online-offline integration for shoppers.
What isn’t up for debate is the powerful role played by Millennial and Gen Z consumers in today’s ever-evolving jewelry market. Millennials (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) now account for nearly $600 billion in spending in the United States every year, including close to 60% of diamond jewelry demand. Gen Z (1997 to present) clocks in at $143 billion and 5% of all diamond jewelry piece purchases — with those figures only poised to surge as they grow up and boost their individual earning power.
But it also remains to be seen if the campaign will do much to endear the previously “stuffy” brand and its pricey pieces to these two young generations, either. Gen Z in particular has had to endure serious financial challenges (and now an ongoing pandemic) in their formative years, and are almost certain to remain quite “price conscious” throughout their lifetimes.
A Sure Bet: Zillion Jewelry Insurance
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