N. W. Ayer & Son You may think that the diamond engagement ring is a timeless symbol of love, but it turns out, it's not. It's just a huge advertising campaign and today we are going to meet it's creator. SCRIPT Let\u2019s start by quoting Beyonce \u201cIf you like it put a ring on it\u201d. But have you ever wondered why we put diamond ring on things we like? You may think that the diamond engagement ring is a timeless symbol of love, but it turns out, this so-called ancient tradition it was actually an advertising campaign created less than a century ago for the De Beers Diamond Corporation. In order to understand how an advertising campaign can make something intrinsic worthless worth millions, we have to meet the team who created this jewel of a campaign. No pun intended. Ayer and Son was an advertising agency established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1869. It called itself the oldest agency in the United States. Named after Francis Ayer's father N. W. Ayer, it ventured into advertising in 1884. This advertising agency made a lot of breakthroughs that shaped the advertising as we know it today. For example, the \u201copen contract\u201d method of billing became the industry standard through its revolutionary nature. This is basically a contract the terms of which do not describe the entire agreement between the two parties involved, with clauses or provisions that can be modified without mutual consent (usually by the vendor). They are also the first advertising agency to have a copywriting department and have a full-time copywriter. Over the years, they created some of the most famous slogans for big companies like Camel, AT&T, and of course, De Beers. They also worked with the U.S. army and they created the well-known \u201cI want you for the U.S. army\u201d poster. The war poster shows Uncle Sam pointing his finger at the viewer in order to recruit soldiers for the American Army during World War. The poster helped Americans understand their relationship to the wartime government. Some other slogans N. W. Ayer & Son created was the \u201cI\u2019d walk a mile for a Camel\u201d advertising, of course, Camel, the \u201cReach out and touch someone\u201d promoting long-distance telephone service for AT&T and the famous a diamond is forever. Let\u2019s talk a little bit about that campaign. Before the 1930\u2019s nobody exchanged diamond rings when they\u2019ve got engaged. But in 1938, the De Beer Diamond Corporation launched a massive ad campaign claiming that the only way for a real man to show his love, is with an expensive piece of crystallized carbon, and boy we bought it. In fact, every element of traditional American engagement was designed to make more money for De Beers. Now you might say, still, the diamonds are worth something. I\u2019m sorry to break it to you, but diamonds are basically worthless. \u00a0If you don\u2019t believe me, believe Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers Chairman who said, and I quote \u201cDiamonds are intrinsically worthless.\u201d The only reason why diamonds are expensive is because De Beers has a global monopoly on diamond mining and they artificially restrict the supply to increase the prices. This prove us how a century of good advertising can embed an idea so deeply in our culture that even knowing the truth, still won\u2019t make you not buy an engagement ring. The agency didn\u2019t last very long. Soon enough, after an army scandal and losing contracts with Burger King, AT&T and a few others, the agency\u2019s influence started to diminish. In 1996, Ayer became part of MacManus Group after merging with D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. In 2002, after multiple mergers, Ayer offices were closed by the Publicis Groupe in Paris who bought their assets. That\u2019s all for today, guys. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Show us some love by subscribing to our Soundcloud and Itunes Channel. Also, make sure you check out Bannersnack for more advertising and design goodies. Till next time, Keep being awesome!