The self-sacrificing, dutiful bride has been the Indian ideal for years. This is a story of how planning
imagined a new kind of bride. For our client, DTC, weddings were the single largest purchase occasion.
Planning was entrusted with the job of creating preference for diamond jewellery over gold jewellery at
weddings. Instead, planning redefined the task as creating a new cultural paradigm for brides. And
then created it. A bride who is more happy, than married. Free to be herself and brimming with joy.
Diamond brides are happy brides. Gold brides, just dutiful ones.
When the campaign ran its course, we found that 73% of brides are willing to replace gold with
diamonds for their wedding jewellery. And 95% of brides vouch for the sentiment "this is a vision of the
bride I want to be, this is for me, this is me." (research)
In terms of consumer behaviour as well as attitude, the results more than matched up to the intent
behind the campaign.
THE CULTURAL CONTEXT: CONSERVATISM AND GOLD DOMINATE
When it comes to marriage, Indians are loathe to change anything. It is customary, while exchanging
vows to pray that the sacred union lasts for not one but seven lifetimes! (Symbolised by the couple taking
seven rounds of the holy fire). Even today, most Indian marriages are 'arranged' by parents- based on
factors such as the couple's family background, social standing and even a horoscope match. In such a
context, personal choice takes a backseat and the traditional way holds sway.
Gold has been an abiding piece of the bride's adornment for centuries. Gold was chosen not merely
because it looked pretty but also because it evoked deep socio-cultural meaning.
- Out of every 13 pieces of jewellery worn at a wedding, gold is 8.7, diamonds is 1.4 (research)
Culturally, gold jewellery:
- is considered "auspicious" and synonymous with deity of wealth and well-being
- Connotes the transfer of wealth. It is gifted by parents as a form of 'stree dhan'- literally, woman's wealth.
Planning redefines the task: Our challenge was to disrupt this age-old mindset altogether. The client's
brief was to create a preference for diamonds vs gold. We could have taken the path of metal vs stone.
But knowing that the challenge was as much cultural as it was market based, planning redefined the
task as creating a new cultural paradigm for brides. It was about changing mindsets, creating a
preference for one kind of wedding vs another, one kind of bride vs another.
THE TARGET AUDIENCE: THE BRIDE HERSELF
Most wedding communication focuses on parents. It stands to reason because most weddings in India are financed and managed by parents.
Yet, focus groups suggested the evolving role of young women, particularly in terms of marriage. It was
being reflected in longer engagements (read courtships), a spirit of unbridled participation in their own
affairs and a remarkable degree of comfort in their interaction with their future in-laws. Wedding
communication seemed stuck in what used to be. To add certainty to our findings we commissioned
some quantitative research.
The survey threw up startlingly new developments, confirming our belief. For example, in terms of
purchase of jewellery, the main decision maker and influencer is as much the bride as the mum herself.
Planning conclusion: Talk to the bride (unnoticed among advertisers), instead of her parents. The
conventional wisdom was to talk to parents, but planning was convinced that the role of the bride was
evolving and there was potential in addressing her. This was a significant choice to make and dare we
admit, required a fair degree of conviction.
THE STRATEGY: PUNCTURE THE BGIW (BIG FAT INDIAN WEDDING)
From past research, we learnt that gold jewellery had a lot going for it. Gold stood for security,
values, tradition. No gold was no go. Diamond jewellery too, had a lot of positives such as modernity,
status, glamour but, could not take on the 'rightness' of gold.
Planning asked a simple question that past research had not asked: How is a bride adorned in gold different from a bride adorned in diamonds? To understand this, planning hit the road doing 9
focus groups in 3 cities Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, using techniques of category archaeology and semiotics.
Consumers created mood boards and as a short hand we simply titled them gold bride and diamond
bride. In effect, the term Diamond Bride, was a planning short hand. Or so we thought...
The gold bride was vividly projected as being "too decked up, traditional, with a vernacular
The gold bride was vividly projected as being "too decked up, traditional, with a vernacular accent,
accent, fearful, obedient, surrounded by uncles, aunts, squealing cousins, at a hustle-bustle-hotch-potch
of a wedding party".
In contrast, the diamond bride was imagined to be "elegant, at a select gathering, an extrovert who
speaks her mind, and above all casual, cheerful and happy, not nervous at all, even though she is
Will never raise her voice
Not financially secure
Doubts about future
Apprehensive about in-laws
So good, so obedient
Also wears western clothes
No formality, cheerful
Will not alter her lifestyle
Husband will miss her most
Analysing these projections revealed deeper motivations of purchase for both types of jewellery.
There certainly was more to it than met the eye.
On the surface, gold jewellery purchase at weddings was about doing the right thing. But underneath,
gold was a glittering cover up of family and financial pressures.
On the surface, diamond jewellery purchase at weddings was about high status. But underneath, the
purchase of diamonds at weddings was a curious mix of style and a happy informality.
This was a discovery with enormous implications that planning identified and focused on.
Our strategy was that there was a contemporary cultural paradigm waiting to be advanced-Happy
Brides! Diamond brides were happy brides. As distinct from gold brides-traditional, dutiful and with their
eyes downcast most of the time. Planning had identified that in India, brides were not happy, but would
love to be happy and that diamonds could be positioned as the catalyst to this - symbolic of personal
choice, of the woman having an opinion and a right to have a say, of a modern, aspirational statement.
Planning focused the team's thinking on the point that celebrating the emotional high point of a wedding
from the bride's point of view is vital. The happy bride is one who is free to express herself. Even at her
wedding, an occasion marked with tradition, she is bold enough to add the small touches that make her
wedding day truly 'hers'. This is her day, EXCEPT she never knew that. And that is exactly what
diamonds will now tell her.
DIAMOND BRIDE: BRINGING ALIVE THE NEW PARADIGM IN THE BRIEFING
First, we had an informal briefing, where planning shared with creative the strategic idea of the
diamond bride via a simple chart on contrasting brides
Creative spontaneously started weaving copy around it. Presented below are some of these early
precious nuggets of our creative journey, 'hot from the oven' responses to the creative brief -
Celebrate the happy bride, celebrate the diamond bride.
- Jewellery is to adorn me, not my locker
- I won't touch my in-laws feet* but I will touch their hearts (*old custom)
- Happiness is auspicious
The briefing continued with a Wedding Day One, for client and creative teams. Planning re-enacted the
contemporary wedding along with sharing the thinking (the Day One included a song and dance group,
wedding sweets given out in the break, and a group photograph with men in turbans and women
wearing diamond jewelry loaned from the client!) The briefing process focused on bringing alive
contemporary weddings, so people could feel the difference between the old and new paradigms.
What creative took away was that it takes more than a diamond to make a Diamond Bride. The
creative idea was that the diamond is the stone for the bride with a spark.
DIAMOND BRIDE: DESIGNING THE DRESS AND OTHER CHANNEL THINKING
To overturn centuries of tradition requires more than advertising. A bride wearing a bright red dress and
bedecked in gold jewellery is an iconic Indian image.
The diamond bride though was our creation. Before this campaign, the concept did not exist. We had to
make the Diamond Bride a reality, so that young brides out there knew what they could aspire to be on
their big day.
We set out to inspire the ideal of becoming a diamond bride, using a holistic communication model. With
three re-inforcing pillars working together.
ROLE OF COMMUNICATION
Dress: Help translate desire into action
Advertising: Create desire around the notion
PR: raise the legitimacy of the action
The dress is a focal point of her wedding for every girl. Brides-to-be had told us, that even if they
wanted to, they could not wear diamonds until they found outfits to match. And the market was full of
wedding outfits that matched gold jewelry. Planning's answer was an intensely practical one - create a
distinct look for the diamond bride to help translate bridal desire into action. Thus, clothing emerged as
a channel for the diamond bride idea. This also created innovative channels of expression and PR
support for our campaign.
The best way to take this idea forward emerged via communications planning, we thought of
approaching India's finest designers to imagine this so-far mythical figure and imbue her with flesh and
blood. Creatively speaking, that meant making India's top 3 fashion designers Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal and
Tarun Tahiliani de facto advocates of the diamond bride. Each designer had their interpretation of the
bridal look-the common thread being diamonds. This look was given visibility across media-as
infomercials on TV and advertorials in magazines like Vogue and L'officiel. Additionally, we used the
route of direct marketing to reach our target. Literally, handing them images they could shop to. A
trend booklet on the Diamond Bride was sent out to subscribers of Femina and Hello magazines.
NEW DIAMOND BRIDE WEDDING DRESS: BY THREE TOP DESIGNERS
The film shows a bride bedecked in diamond jewellery. Once the ceremony is complete, the husband puts
the sindoor (vermillion applied on hair parting for married Indian women) on her hair and the diamond
tiara falls into place. That's the cue for the bride to signal the end of the ceremony and she whispers in
the groom's ear: you may now kiss the bride. In short, a private moment in a public affair. Kissing the
bride in the Indian context is NOT a matter of custom. (And public mention of kissing is quite taboo). In
fact, asking for a kiss is a sure sign of self-expression from a bride who knows how to bask in the
To put it in context, what the film does is place the diamond (in effect, replacing the traditional mode of
jewellery) bang in the centre of the elaborate Indian wedding ceremony, thus conferring upon it a
legitimacy that was always reserved earlier for gold, and a sense of modernity that gold can only aspire
In terms of research results, the proportion of diamond jewellery worn at weddings increased more than
In terms of market results, the wedding diamond jewellery growth of 30% exceeded the overall diamond jewelry growth of 20%.
We learnt that the preference between precious products is actually the preference between precious
cultures. We learnt that planning is about translating old things into new meanings.
Our client's response to the campaign said it best: "The best part of this campaign is that it is not
product focused. It is not just about the shine of the diamond, but about the shine of the bride, which is
a real discriminator."