Redefining Gold’s Image For Today’s Consumers

Somasundaram PR, Regional CEO, India, World Gold Council, in an exclusive interview shares insights into the latest generic campaign ‘You Are Gold’ unveiled last week in partnership with GJEPC.

Gold took centre stage at a glittering event held by World Gold Council (WGC) in partnership with Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). 

A multimedia campaign ‘You Are Gold’ was unveiled to increase awareness, relevance and adoption of gold jewellery among Indian millennials and Gen Z.  The integrated campaign that will run in two phases through 2021, aims to draw in the younger generation by presenting gold jewellery within a contemporary context, and salute self-expressions that capture heart-warming stories of celebratory moments.

Somasundaram PR
A still shot of the You Are Gold campaign.

What did the research reveal that prompted WGC to come up with a campaign to lure millennials and Gen Z?

One of the important findings was that there is a trust barrier to gold. That was one of the biggest revelations that came across markets for people who don’t buy gold. They have a lot of resistance to enter gold because of  a combination of factors such as trust, purity, and price.

Another major theme that evolved was that millennials have less affiliation to gold than the previous generation. And that wasn’t exactly something which we felt was good for gold in the long term. The study also found that millennials did not find gold as innovative as compared to other categories.

We asked ourselves – so why do they think it is not innovative? The reason is that we still keep talking the same language when it comes to gold, especially when marketing gold jewellery. Gold is generally linked to and restricted to events which are predetermined in our life, like weddings or socio-relgious occasions. There’s no doubt that these are important drivers, but if we keep repeating the same marketing language, I’d say  it creates fatigue amongst the millennials. Of course, during a wedding, they would want to buy gold. But one is not taking gold beyond that.

Why did you choose to partner with GJEPC?

This is a category campaign, and not about a particular brand. During 2006/07, when WGC marketed the concept of Lucky Lakshmi or even popularised Akshaya Tritiya, we partnered with individual players. And we did joint advertisements. 

This campaign is different. It is about lifting the entire category. We felt that there was a big gap in the marketing communication, and we decided that our partners could only be reputed associations. Therefore, we approached GJEPC. We also felt that it could resonate with Indian diasporas in other markets which GJEPC is interested in. 

How long will these national campaigns last?

There is an ongoing first burst now with the first film, and there are three more films coming. We have a host of influencers, who will propagate the message through social media platforms. This will go through August with this single film, and a couple of static shots. It tells a story of a millennial’s life and the moments where gold is still very relevant. And then we will have the second burst sometime closer to Diwali right upto December. I’d say, it is a high-decibel, concentrated campaign.

So in the future, will WGC tie up with manufacturers or designers for developing contemporary gold lines?

As of now, officially we don’t have any plans. We will partner only with associations. This time, we wanted a full category campaign. Having said that, once this initiative stabilises, and depending on how the trade also picks it up, we may look at options. Maybe next year, we could plan with GJEPC about how to rope in jewellers. But as of now, we will concentrate on generic campaigns.

When does WGC expect tangible results in terms of increased consumption of gold?

The campaign is generic, so one will not see a direct correlation. However, for our digital platforms, there is a landing page, and the digital information will provide us data and tangible milestones to see whether this has picked up.

But the more important thing about this campaign is that it is going to change the language of gold. Every momentous occasion deserves to be celebrated with gold, and it is not just these four films that will convey this message. As we get more funding through industry participation, etc., it could throw open new vistas. 

You Are Gold is all about you. It shows the independence of the millennial but not disregarding tradition, but they want to define and enjoy the tradition in their own way. Take for instance the way the younger generation celebrates Karwa Chauth. They maintain the tradition by fasting, but in a more modern way — now even the husband joins the woman in keeping a day-long fast. So the same is the case with gold. Of course, gold, too, will not lose its traditional importance – for weddings, celebrating childbirth, etc. But the campaign will highlight a new way to gift gold on several other occasions.

The campaign will open up the kind of gold jewellery or gold artefacts that jewellers can actually offer.  It is not about what you want to wear, it is about what you can actually gift (I’m not referring to coins) … it could be more personalised with the birth date etched on the pendant or a friendship band … It is about defining various moments in life through contemporary designs in gold.

So are you saying that gold designs should move with the times…


Look, we all know that there is a huge market for heavy jewellery because it is an investment … but we need to start narratives which tell consumers that gold is relevant in celebrations of other moments also. That is what these campaigns are attempting to do. And this will then open up a massive opportunity for jewellers to produce jewellery which is relevant for such moments… 

Whether it be friendship, or a father-daughter relationship, a sister-brother relationship and so on. There must be new ways of making that moment really ‘golden’. Such designs could be so different at various affordable price points that can redefine the category and make millennials realise that there is more innovation here than any other category when it comes to gifting. So while you have the intrinsic value in place, you also have something contemporary and affordable.

So gold can be pushed more into the gifting category?

Today, when one wants to give a gift, one tends to think of gold as an expensive option. Second, the minimum you would want to buy is a ring or a pair of earrings, which becomes unaffordable given the high rates of gold.

But, the moment you are offered lightweight, beautiful designer pieces at affordable prices, two things can happen – one, the buyer won’t be concerned about the aspects of karatage and labour charges.  A buyer will pick an item based on his or her budget … This buying behaviour will create a potential to move gold jewellery as a branded product. It will be gold-based branded gifts, which defines the moment. It is early to say, but I believe this will lead to new opportunities.

Will this have a good spin off in terms of exporting modern gold jewellery from India? Reason being that we generally cater to the NRIs settled abroad…

Of course! There is a huge potential as jewellers can make more fashionable and lightweight collections incorporating newer manufacturing techniques. If you speak a particular design language and the industry comes out with products using various technologies — and if both of them converge, I believe there will be an explosion of a completely new category of gold in the market.

Apart from the campaign, will the tie-up encompass actionable plans to spur modern designs in gold (setting up a trend cell, etc.)?  

Currently, we are concentrating on the campaign.  But it all depends on how this initiative picks up, and how the industry warms up to it, and how we find a better model of sustainable advertising. We will definitely look at designs, manufacturing aspects and so on… but  right now the focus is entirely on this campaign; we hope that the lockdown also eases, and the Diwali purchases happen hopefully with the influence of this campaign. And we will get some indications through the digital footprints as well.

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