Christmas is over-the-top season for jewelry store advertising. There’s still a lot of the holiday season left to go, but a Superior, Wisconsin jeweler has already won this year’s award for most-memorable TV commercial.
Larry Falter of LTD Jewelers is running a “Second Coming Sale,” based on the belief that Jesus is returning to earth very soon. In the meantime, his diamonds are half off.
“I’ve had people come in and want to talk about Jesus Christ and I’ve had people come and say, ‘Where are those diamond earrings? I want to buy them for half off,” Mr. Falter told me this afternoon.
Falter has been running TV ads “for years and years,” but this is the first time he’s brought his religious beliefs into the mix. He recently returned from a visit to Israel as part of Jews for Jesus. “I just thought we would have some fun with it all,” he said. “I haven’t had any negative comments, but there could be some I don’t know about. People are not responding because to them it’s a negative. But I’m OK with it. We have signs in the store that talk about having a 50-percent-off Second Coming sale.”
The need for diamonds and the Second Coming generally don’t go together very well. “They don’t,” he acknowledges. “But my point is in the here and now if you’re looking to do this or that, here we are. People can hear one message and maybe do something with that or not with regard to the Lord, and the other thing they can do something with — or not — is where to shop.”
Falter doesn’t see the ad, currently running on two Duluth TV stations, as being the beginning of a series on the Second Coming, but he’s not ruling it out. “I’m a little more out there right now as a Christian businessman. Will I find I want to do more like this in the future? I don’t know. It’s just something that was timely for me right now, maybe because of my own personal convictions and having those reinforced by the trip to Israel, and also by the fourth quarter in any jewelry business being the most important to do business in. What will I do next year? I couldn’t honestly give you a truthful answer.”
For now, he’s more concerned with the economy. “I think people are going to shop more strongly than in recent years,” he said. But he’s worried the publicity surrounding Friday’s meeting of a presidential commission charged with finding ways to cut the U.S. deficit will kill consumer enthusiasm.
“If they hit the hammer on this really hard, it could set a shock wave of ‘Maybe, I should hold back a little bit,'” he said.
Update 8:36 a.m. Wed. – I wasn’t aware of this yesterday but Aaron J. Brown has written about this ad. Find it on his excellent blog.