Why I’ve come to hate Spence Diamonds

Spence Diamonds. Fabulous product. Horrific advertising. I went from loving Spence Diamonds for their great products to absolutely abhorring them, courtesy of their awful advertising. If I didn’t find it so infuriatingly terrible, I would feel sad for them. But there is simply no excuse for advertising execution this bad.

I used to think of Spence Diamonds very fondly. Even when that nails-on-chalkboard equivalent voice took over their radio advertising, my love for the company stayed strong. Then things went from bad to worse. Spence Diamonds has forever alienated me as a customer and supporter with the rollout of their most recent advertising campaign on bus stops. What makes it worse is that it’s completely inescapable – it’s everywhere. I give them kudos for thorough coverage and deep penetration, but hate them on a personal level. Every time I see one of these ads, my blood literally boils.

Spence Diamonds has four (that I’m aware of) different ads within this campaign. On that note, I should probably clarify: I adore the concept of this campaign. I think it’s cute, relatable, witty, and relevant. Maybe that’s why I feel so frustrated about it – it has so much potential to be great, and they absolutely blew it on the execution! To be fair, I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback from others on the concept of this campaign. Specifically, a number of people were offended by the “It sucks to be alone” ad; I thought it was funny, if a little bit harsh. Also, not a smart move – it successfully alienates potential future customers.


So how do I hate thee? Let me list the ways …

The offensively terrible typeface: Did they let a four-year-old child choose this typeface? I mean really Spence Diamonds? It looks like the BOLD key threw up all over your ad, in the least romantic, modern, or appealing font ever. It’s not even consistent with what their brand image seems to be – though I’m no longer sure what their brand image is …. And it would appear they don’t either.

The awful ring image: Really? That’s the best you can do? Look, Spence Diamonds, it’s about time someone told you: you are not Tiffany & Co. What makes your image even worse is that Tiffany & Co. rolled out an ad campaign of their own at the same time as Spence Diamonds, using an identical style of ring. The diamond in the ring featured in the Spence Diamonds ads looks like it’s of poor quality. It’s just not good. Newsflash, Spence: Tiffany’s ring makes your ring look like it came from the dentist. 

The blatant disregard for appealing layout: The image of the ring is disproportionately large. The font seems crammed together. The logo seems like it was placed on as an afterthought. Just not good. 

Spence Diamonds – FIRE YOUR AGENCY.


Guerilla Marketing: Is it effective?

Guerilla Marketing: (noun) Highly aggressive marketing that uses unconventional, attention-getting techniques to get maximum results from a minimal effort.

Guerilla marketing is a growing phenomenon, and consumers seem to love it. Who am I kidding … I love it! It’s fun. It’s fresh. It’s engaging. It’s impactful. I nearly always find the concepts bloody brilliant! What I find interesting is that due to the implicit non-traditional nature of guerilla marketing, it is a great opporunity for companies to consider sustainability in not just what they market, but also how they market. But is it effective?

Thefuntheory.com, a Volkswagen initiative, demonstrates that human nature leads people to be more involved in things they find fun. One of my favourite examples was shown in a marketing class, focused on trying to get more people to take the stairs rather than an escalator or elevator. Volkswagen made the stairs “singing stairs” and decorated them as piano keys, proving through video footage that people wanted to take the stairs to see what happened. Techniques like this demonstrate the value of fun and unique approaches to gaining consumer attention. Simple. To-the-point. Achieves sustainability from a social health perspective.

More recently, Reebok and CrossFit teamed up to create the largest 3D painting in the world in London’s Canary Wharf area, breaking the Guiness World Record! Generating consumer engagement, Reebok and CrossFit encouraged consumers to complete their workout on a snowy ledge over the extreme canyon depicted below, sharing their images through social media. I was beyond impressed by the 1,160.4 square meters by 106.5 square meters picture showcasing a stunning waterfall and deep canyon. The concept is brilliant!

Reebok & CrossFit 3D Guerilla Marketing

Based on these two examples, it is clear that in order to guerilla marketing to be successful, it must be eye-catching, engaging, and fun. Like traditional marketing, I believe that guerrilla marketing still needs a call to action to be effective, whether it’s a call for purchase or engagement. However, guerilla marketing intended solely as presence marketing would obviously not require the same call to action. Considering the overall positive consumer response to guerilla marketing, I would argue that yes – it is effective. Some other guerrilla marketing campaigns that I think deserve notable mention are:

7-Eleven converted some of their stores to look like Kwik E Marts leading up to the release of the Simpsons movie.

Havaianas used flowerbeds in the shape of their sandals.

The City of Denver cleverly removed a large portion of a bench in an effort to encourage responsible water use. As a sustainability nerd, their use of guerilla marketing to encourage sustainable behaviour is one of my favourites!

Ikea decorated a bus stop using Ikea furniture. This effectively illustrates the multi-purpose nature, small size, and durability of Ikea products.

What are your favourite guerrilla marketing campaigns?