Sunday, December 14, 2008

Less is more...signs of the time

De Beers Diamond Company Says More is Less
07.12.08, 10:21 / Retail
De Beers launched its promotional campaign for the diamond in hard times with a full page ad in last Sunday’s New York Times stating: "Here's to less." The ad also included a pair of glittery diamond stud earrings along with De Beer’s well-known slogan: "A diamond is forever."
How exactly does a diamond fit in with hard times? De Beers’ ad reads: "Our lives are filled with things. We're overwhelmed by possessions we own but do not treasure. Stuff we buy but never love. To be thrown away in weeks rather than passed down for generations."It continues: “Perhaps it will be different now. Perhaps now is an opportunity to reassess what really matters. After all, if everything you ever bought her disappeared overnight, what would she truly miss?" De Beers, which produces about 40% of the world's diamond supply, is currently cutting production, including a reduction of as much as 20% at its two Canadian diamond mines. Due to the drop in demand for diamonds, De Beers has launched a massive marketing campaign to boost diamond sales: The "Here's to Less" advertisement is one of a series of eight ads - "Fewer, Better Things" is the banner headline of another - focused on the six-week holiday season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. An account director of marketing at J. Walter Thompson stated: "The overarching idea is really about fewer, better things. These are uncertain times and a lot has changed for Americans on a day-to-day basis, watching the stock market go up and down. It's really about a time to look inward, and look at your family, and the things that you treasure.”

In the same newspaper there was an interview with Michael Lewis (Boston Globe December 14, 2008). In this interview he was asked if financial collapse brought on a particular panic. The question was "Is the panic you describe (in Iceland) a crises of faith?" he talks about confidence in a system...and then the interviewer asks "You reveal that this financial system has its secret priesthood...." Of interest as we finally take a look at consumerism/materialism as Christians is the comparison in both the ad and the interview with "religion" or "spirituality."

My parents lost their home, furniture, and what little jewels my mom had to Hurricane Ivan. When I visited them a month later and looked at the collapsed structure that was home for 40 years I found myself picking up mom's pearls and pieces of jewelery and rosaries from their bedroom floor. Later Sr Beatrice created a rosary bracelet from the many and varied beads for mom to wear. The Sacred Heart statue (life size) given to us by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd was missing. Later on the heart from this statue was located by the bird bath and placed in a container meant for a signed baseball. The words "deep waters cannot quench love," from Song of Songs were etched onto the plastic. Now my mom lives in an even greater simplicity than I thought possible. Her heirlooms gone out to sea. The diamond wasn't forever - Jesus' love is forever in the image of his heart - and in the love that shines brighter through darkness, storm and trust. My dad used to tell me that if I couldn't sleep to imagine being in a snow storm and seeing a house in the distance with smoke coming from a chimney and lights from the windows. Think of the wind blowing and the cold. Walk toward that warm, lit place. Finally arrive, open the door, feel the warm air. Smell soup warming over the fire place. See the warm goose-down bed. The wind blows but you are warm. He said "You will be asleep even before you can sip the soup or get under the covers. This is our desire for what matters - the light that beckons in the cold and darkness of anything we face. This is the light of Christ - this is forever.

No comments: