by KseniaStepkina

This Tiffany & Co. engagement ring advertisement is not only problematic in itself, but also representative of a larger process that is extremely troublesome. Here I will analyze the problems that I intend to address with my Culture Jam.

The ad shows a man and a woman holding hands. The woman is wearing Tiffany’s engagement ring. The caption says: “Will you make my world incredible just by being in it? Will you?”. The advertising captures a common practice, regarded by some as a long-standing tradition, of a man proposing to a woman with an eternal symbol of love – a diamond ring. However, let us take a closer look what stands behind this “long-standing tradition”, which is simply a marketing plot, cleverly implemented by the diamond producers to boost sales. Powerful advertising campaign succeeded in convincing the consumers that love can be measured in the carats of the engagement ring. Yet again, the corporations manage to translate human interests into commercial values and big profits.

Thus, the bigger the ring – the bigger the love. “Love” can be bought, and packaged in the iconic blue box. It is not a secret that the engagement rings are expensive, with Tiffany & Co. being at the top price tier. However, the (absurd) price of the engagement ring is not justified by the limited supply of the diamond, nor the craftsmanship of the jeweler. With the supply (and demand!) artificially controlled, the consumer pays for the “exclusiveness”, the image, and the status, which are prudently policed by the public opinion. As everyone striving to demonstrate their “individuality” and status with the Tiffany ring – THE ring, the company celebrates its success in creating a conforming consumer. This has problematic implications for both men and women. If a man is not able to buy a Tiffany ring, he is considered a lesser of a man. Women, on the other hand become obsessed with the idea of being proposed with a ring in a blue box. As Tiffany’s slogan goes: “Blue is the color of the dreams”. Aren’t there other thing worth to be dreaming about for a woman – education, self-development, career ambitions, charitable causes?!). Moreover, the engagement ring is inherently sexist, representing the double standards set for women, as it is only the woman that has to display the symbol of commitment publicly. Whereas the man has no visible indication that he, too has made a promise. The ad further highlights such an unequal position, whereby the man is displayed in a power-suit – covered and protected, while the woman shows bare skin – vulnerable and dependent. It is her, who is holding on to his hand.

However, while the absurdity of the Tiffany’s social message is not a secret to the very consumers buying into it, people keep conforming to the expectations put forward by the corporation and strongly reinforced by the social mechanisms of conformity and opinion.