For New Campaign, Natural Diamond Council Looks to the North

SourcingJun 04, 2024

For New Campaign, Natural Diamond Council Looks to the North

Shot in Canada’s Northwest Territories in winter, the campaign features actress and NDC ambassador Lily James and the Northern Lights.

Actress Lily James with a rough diamond and the Northern Lights
The Natural Diamond Council’s new “Real. Rare. Responsible” campaign starring actress and NDC ambassador Lily James (“Cinderella,” “Downton Abbey”) was shot in Canada’s Northwest Territories, where the Northern Lights are visible more than half the year. (Photo courtesy of the Natural Diamond Council)
Las Vegas—Later this year, the Natural Diamond Council will launch a campaign starring Lily James and shot in Canada’s Northwest Territories in the dead of winter.

The new “Real. Rare. Responsible” campaign, which is designed to highlight the positive impact diamonds have in the communities where they are mined, features the “Pam & Tommy” actress against a snowy backdrop. 

It serves as a stark contrast to the last “Real. Rare. Responsible” campaign, which was shot in Botswana, and follows James as she visits De Beers Canada’s Gahcho Kué mine, Rio Tinto’s Yellowknife splitting facility, and Diamonds de Canada, the sole producer of the Polar Bear Diamond. 

Set to launch in late summer, the campaign includes videos and still imagery retailers can utilize for social media, print, and billboards. There is also a script for a radio spot. 

For its part, the NDC will focus on placing the ads on digital platforms. 

“We’re generally speaking to a younger, Gen Z-millennial audience,” NDC CEO David Kellie said in an interview Friday when asked about NDC’s decision to do digital advertising only.

“They are consuming on their phones, [on platforms] like TikTok. We’ve done a huge amount of work with influencers on TikTok. It’s not a conventional campaign; it’s literally influencers spreading the diamond facts. That’s where we’re influencing people.

“Whilst the industry looks back with great fondness on the De Beers campaigns—the shadows, the three-stone engagement ring, those things—the reality is, you don’t get the reach to the right audience with TV and with print. We still love [print] because people still love to pick up something ... tactile. We still do a print magazine even though most of our representation is digital.”

 Related stories will be right here … 

Originally called the Diamond Producers Association and rebranded as NDC in 2020, the organization is funded by a combination of members who serve on its board of directors and partners, which include a number of large diamond manufacturers as well as India’s Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council.

Kellie said NDC lost about half its funding when Alrosa suspended its membership and halted all financial contributions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It now faces another potential hurdle—Anglo American’s demerger or divestment of De Beers Group. 

De Beers currently accounts for 80 percent of NDC’s member funding, Kellie said.

Despite the uncertainty, he said the organization remains focused on the task at hand—rolling out this new campaign promoting natural diamonds ahead of the holiday season.

It also is seeking to sign on more members and partners to diversify its funding sources, something that has been a goal for a number of years.

“Even before Alrosa’s resignation [in 2022], it was always our belief that all parts of the industry should be participating in what we do, which is to drive consumer demand,” Kellie said.

The organization just signed on the Okavango Diamond Company (ODC), which conducts rough diamond sales on behalf of the Botswana government, as its first non-mining member.

ODC also partnered with the NDC on the “Natural Diamond Club” lounge in Las Vegas this year.

Kellie said NDC believes more diamond-producing countries should be NDC members, a goal it is working toward. 

He said when it comes to promoting natural diamonds, the industry needs to be united behind one message.

“If we all do it together, it’ll be much bigger, much more impactful. And this industry rises or falls together, as we’ve seen in the last two or three years,” he said. 

“Whilst people compete, and competition is a good thing, we all either do well together or we don’t. It’s a shared responsibility.” 

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