Omaha, NE—What does car insurance have to do with selling diamonds?
Plenty, it seems. At least, it does if you’re Geico and Helzberg Diamonds. The two companies—both owned by Berkshire Hathaway—teamed up for a commercial, first in December, and again for Valentine’s Day.
In the holiday commercial, the Geico gecko and the CEO are celebrating with dinner at a fine restaurant, when the man at the next table suddenly pulls out a diamond ring and proposes to his girlfriend. The box is clearly marked “Helzberg,” which the Geico CEO notes, while the gecko suggests that the reason he was able to buy such a nice diamond is because of all the money he saved on car insurance. The Valentine commercial is similar.
For industry outsiders, it might seem like a strange pairing. But to those in the know, it makes sense. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway keeps increasing its stakes in the jewelry industry, with holdings in both retail (Borsheim’s and Ben Bridge in addition to Helzberg) and wholesale (the ever-growing Richline Group of gold jewelry manufacturers, and the recent acquisition of Rio Grande.)
Helzberg Diamonds gets very clear play in the holiday/Valentine Geico commercial.
We all knew that, of course, but did you know the gecko’s mating call sounds suspiciously like Frank Sinatra? Click on the image below to watch the commercial.
The Geico "CEO" and gecko, front. The couple who get engaged are at the next table in the background, moments before the groom presents the Helzberg ring shown above.
Separately, a brief scan by this editor of various TV channels in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day showed a heavy rotation of Kay Jewelers commercials, a few Zales commercials, and one airing of the Geico/Helzberg partnership.
The frequency proportions of the various stores’ ads were roughly the same as holiday 2012 advertising (Sterling with a huge lead, then Zale, then Helzberg), but minus Forevermark in the mix and with the caveat that Helzberg doesn’t have a lot of stores in The Centurion’s viewing area. It may have made bigger airtime buys in regions of the country where it has a stronger footprint.