“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.” – Eric Hoffer
Last month I ripped out an advertisement that was promoting the Diamond Right Hand Ring. I later learned that the campaign has been running for a couple of years, but it took Valentine’s Day for me to finally notice.
I recall thinking that these are smart marketers: “Your left hand likes evenings at home. Your right hand loves a night out. Your left hand reads stories before bed. Your right hand lives a story worth reading. Women of the world, raise your right hand.”
Back in 2004, Caroline Overington wrote an article for TheAge in Australia about the promotion. She writes, “As soon as journalists start writing about advertising campaigns, you know the ads are working. In the United States right now, you can hardly open a magazine without reading about the ‘latest trend in jewelry’ – the right-hand diamond ring.”
“According to these news items, economically independent women, like the ones seen on Sex and the City, are no longer waiting for a man to buy them a rock for the ring finger of their left hand. Married or not, they are buying their own diamonds, and wearing them on the right hand as a symbol of their independence.”
Jessica Michault at the International Herald Tribune writes, “Move along Prince Charming. No thank you Fairy Godmother. Today’s modern woman isn’t waiting for a fairy tale ending to obtain the ring of her dreams. Women are taking control of the one luxury occupation usually reserved for men – buying a diamond ring.”
“As the average age at which a woman gets married continues to climb, women are no longer willing to wait for ‘the big day’ to see some ice on their finger. But while many still hesitate to deck out their left hand in diamonds, they are embracing the idea of diamond rings on their right hand.”
“The right-hand ring has begun to be referred to as the ‘power’ ring. As more women become the primary breadwinner for their households, this is a fitting name for a ring that has become another way for women to proclaim their influence and independence.”
Back to TheAge where Overington concludes, “Sales of rings are indeed up – some diamond analysts say by as much as 10 per cent in six months – but not all (and maybe none) of this should be traced to a new wave in feminist thinking. In fact, the trend can be traced to September 2003, when the giant De Beers diamond company launched a massive advertising campaign across the US called: Women of the World, Raise Your Right Hand.”
“According to the ads, which appear in top-end magazines such as Vogue, wearing a diamond on the right hand means you are independent and free.” But wait… is it really independent thinking? “Women of the world are putting out their right hands, with credit cards attached. Maybe it proves only one thing: men can’t tell these women what to do, but marketers certainly can.”
It’s a question that quickly expands beyond diamonds and the urge to raise your right hand. How do you ignore what advertisers are trying to get us to buy? Bling and otherwise!