That Spence Diamonds Guy is a Total Moron

[Cache #163]

There are plenty of people who think that Sean Jones, pitchman for Spence Diamonds, is a total moron – and that’s just the way he wants it.  

Spence is an engagement ring retailer with locations in BC, Alberta and Ontario.  They advertise heavily on radio, a medium that puts Jones’ flamboyant, purring voice – which also howls bizarrely – on centre stage.

The ads are intensely irritating.  Jones intends them to be intensely irritating.  Perhaps as a nod to the Facebook page dedicated to getting him off the radio, he says in a current ad:  “You hate the ads.  You’ll love the stores.”

Or, the ads are charming and funny, depending on your personal taste.  The best evidence that some people find them charming and funny is that the ads just keep on coming, countless times every day, month after month, year after year.  So it is only reasonable to assume that the ads are actually prompting some listeners to visit the stores and buy a ring.

Other listeners wouldn’t be caught dead in a Spence store, for fear of being surrounded by goofball employees – or worse, having to explain to the woman you love, in the seconds following the most serious thing you have ever asked her, that her ring comes from that clown on the radio.

But Jones is no bozo.  Instead, his buffoonery betrays branding brilliance.  His strategy is not unlike that of Abercrombie and Fitch, which has an in-store environment that many people despise:  nightclub-dark, loud music, cologne-soaked air.  The haters, of course, are the people – parents and the otherwise uncool – Abercrombie doesn’t want in the store in the first place.

Branding, as a discipline that is fundamentally about positioning, recognizes that you can’t be all things to all people – so you can’t turn everyone into a customer.  Provocative messaging like that of Spence is an effective way to help the non-believers – the people who aren’t on your wavelength – go away.

So you can concentrate on courting the cohort you can actually get to the altar.


New Andris Pone comment in the National Post:  “Birks and Tiffany & Co: Battle of the Blue Jewelry Boxes.”

IN THE MEDIA:  Andris Pone comment on WestJet, Tim Hortons, Lululemon, Indigo and more.

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6 Responses to That Spence Diamonds Guy is a Total Moron

  1. Joe says:

    I won’t buy from there….sean’s voice totally drove me away. At least the people at Zales are not as annoying!!!!

  2. Raymond Wallace says:

    Even though the store has some good offers I will not spend a single penny in their stores because of the moron on the radio ads.

    Plus I thought you had promised to sack this moron if people voted against him?

    Clearly not!

    • Curt L says:

      You know he doesn’t do their ads anymore right?

      • Coin says:

        Hi Curt. Thank you for your comment. I heard him last week on Q107 Toronto. Have they announced that he’s retired? I’ll believe it when I don’t hear his voice for a year… or two…or three…

  3. Ed says:

    You hate the ads. You’ll love the store? WRONG. It’s Shaun himself that annoys people with his or his buddy’s rather effeminate squeal at the end of the commercial. Recently I heard that Shaun is no longer on the commercials. Thank goodness for that.

  4. Cal says:

    His voice was a bit annoying, but it was that stupid squeal at the end of the commercials that kept me away. That and their original ads when the opened their first Toronto location that described their location using an intersection that was 2 km or more away (I recall they were at Sheppard/Willowdale, but said they were “near Yonge and the 401”).

    A couple of years ago, they held a poll asking if they should get rid of the squeal. The majority said dump it and they did – for a couple of months. They ran an ad saying people wrote them saying they missed the squeal. Since the vote was very close, they decided to bring it back.

    A month or two back, their ad ended with the woman asking if they could hear “one last” squeal. I thought that was too good to be true, and since that ad stayed on for several weeks, assumed it meant something else.

    Now they have a new ad running with a whole new vibe, including background music that seems a touch creepy.

    Goofy or creepy? I don’t know which is worse, as long as there is no stupid squeal.

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