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Tiffany & Co's decision to feature a same-sex couple in its campaign suggests the engagement and wedding ring market is changing
Tiffany & Co's decision to feature a same-sex couple in its campaign suggests the engagement and wedding ring market is changing

Tiffany & Co targets same-sex market

In a sign that the engagement and wedding ring market is starting to evolve, jewellery brand Tiffany & Co has unveiled a new advertising campaign that features a same-sex couple.

According to Tiffany, the international Will You? campaign takes a “truly modern” look at love, the proposal and marriage. It includes a number of different advertisements depicting seven couples whose situations were selected to reflect the diversity of the brand’s engagement and wedding rings.

One advertisement that has generated much media attention features a same-sex male couple – said to be a first for the 178-year-old company.

The multi-channelled campaign – which includes videos, digital and social components – is said to portray “distinctly modern couples”, showing that love is “not linear” and “comes in a variety of forms”.

In addition to the two men – who are believed to be in a real-life relationship – another advertisement features a couple that is getting married after already having a child.

Marketing directly to same-sex couples is not a new concept; wedding ring manufacturer Peter W Beck specifically developed an advertisement targeting the homosexual community in September 2013.

Jeweller’s bridal report in the June 2014 issue also found other wedding and engagement ring suppliers such as Worth & Douglas and Bolton Gems had experienced growing interest from same-sex couples looking to purchase such products.

Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co chairman and CEO
Michael Kowalski, Tiffany & Co chairman and CEO

While many media reports praised Tiffany for its progressive Will You? campaign, other outlets suggested the brand was simply taking the next logical step towards expanding its engagement and wedding ring consumer base in the face of weakened sales.

‘Disappointing’ festive sales
Only a few days after announcing the campaign, Tiffany released its festive season sales results for the two months ended 31 December. 

The company recorded a 1 per cent decrease to US$1.02 billion (AU$1.24 b) in worldwide net sales compared to the previous year, leading to the revision of its financial outlook for 2014.

“Clearly, sales for the holiday period were disappointing overall, with significant variability in performance by region and by product category,” Tiffany chairman and CEO Michael Kowalski commented. “Regarding product categories, our very strong and concentrated marketing focus on Tiffany ‘T’ generated strong sales growth in fashion gold jewellery. However, that success did not translate into broader sales momentum as we had anticipated in other jewellery categories.”

Specifically, total sales in the Asia-Pacific region increased 7 per cent to US$210 million (AU$255.4 m) while same store sales rose 3 per cent; in the Americas, total sales declined 1 per cent to US$544 million (AU$661.5 m) and same store sales fell 2 per cent; in Japan, total sales dropped 16 per cent to US$113 million (AU$137.4 m) and same store sales decreased 20 per cent; and in Europe, total sales increased 1 per cent to US$133 million (AU$161.7 m) while same store sales decreased by 3 per cent.

Revenue across all other regions rose 14 per cent to US$24 million (AU$29.2 m) but was offset by a 6 per cent decline in same store sales.

Tiffany had 296 stores, including 73 in the Asia-Pacific region, at 31 December 2014.

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Tuesday, 10 December, 2019 09:48pm
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