In his new book, Integration Marketing, Mark Joyner writes:
“Any guy who has ever gotten engaged has heard “he formula”: What you spend on the engagement ring should be equivalent to two month’s salary. Anything less is an insult to your soon-to-be-fiance.
More than a few strapped-for-cash gentlemen have no doubt wondered: Who in the heck came up with this formula, anyway?
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You may not be shocked to learn that this cultural touchstone was wholly manufactured by the De Beers diamond empire. In fact, it used to be that, while brides expected a ring, it didn’t have to include a diamond.
That’s before De Beers started a propaganda campaign that transformed cultural beliefs and generated billions of dollars in new revenue.
As part of their campaign, they paid for what is now commonly referred to as “product placement” in feature films.
In the 1940s, De Beers began paying film studios to feature scenes with women wearing diamonds and to reinforce the manufactured belief that a true gentleman gives his lady a diamond engagement ring.
And, of course, once you create the rule – that a diamond engagement ring is required – you can create any corollary subrules to go along with it. Specifically, in this case, the two-month’s salary formula.
Some might take a dim view of this kind of cultural manipulation. And, in fact, there are moral and ethical lines in any kind of marketing that should not be crossed. In the case of De Beers, I’ll leave that judgment up to you.
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