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Every Kiss Begins with FEAR!

This post was originally published on November 18, 2009. However, this Kay ad is BACK ON THE AIR AGAIN this year, so our response is too. 12 months later, this commercial is as creepy as ever.

The holiday season is a time for reflection, love, and rampant materialism. I know this, and I expect my holiday television watching to be filled with commercials for useless items that I suddenly feel compelled to purchase for people I didn't even know I cared about. I'm never surprised to see ridiculously over-the-top ads for electronic nose hair trimmers or self-cleaning dog beds—those things are what America is all about.

HOWEVER, there is a Kay Jewelers diamond commercial airing currently that is just a bit more than this consumer can handle. Diamond commercials themselves are the worst of the holiday bunch (buy an expensive, unethical rock or you will never truly love/be loved!) but this one takes the cake by using bizarre fear tactics. Check it out:

Ahh, love's embrace. And you only had to get there by being terrified by a storm and the notion of a life of diamond-less solitude. In addition to the typical reasons why diamond commercials are terrible (hetero? check. white? check. wealthy? check. irritating? check.) this one contains dangerously high levels of fear mongering. OH NO IF YOU'RE EVER AFRAID YOU SHOULD JUST LOOK AT YOUR DIAMOND NECKLACE AND FEEL SAFE BECAUSE YOU HAVE A MAN IN YOUR LIFE. YOU KNOW HE'S THERE TO STAY BECAUSE HE FORKED OUT $1,799.99 ON THAT THING.

Of course people should feel secure in relationships, but this ad clearly (through my feminist lens, anyway) represents the threat of loneliness for single women. Instead of highlighting the good parts of the couple's relationship, it highlights the dangers of not being together (and not buying a necklace from Kay). It's a mean and scary world out there, ladies! Let's hope that you can latch on to a man and "never let go" because if you do you might be struck by lightning.

Also, how creepy is the dude? When he sidles up behind her it reminds me of the Robert De Niro character in Cape Fear.

The holiday season has only just begun and jewelry companies are already trying to frighten us into buying diamonds for our significant others (if we date women, anyway). Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Comments

40 comments have been made. Post a comment.

Thank you! This commercial

Thank you! This commercial is ridiculous. I actually felt like I was watching a bad horror movie. I kept expecting him to pull out a knife.

I completely agree! The

I completely agree! The first time I saw this commercial I thought it was going to be a scary movie preview, and I still think that once the cameras stopped rolling that man turned into some incredibly dangerous monster/zombie/psycho/etc.

horror

I didn't know what I was watching the first time I saw this commercial, and any time I see it while I'm watching TV I either mute it or switch the channel. I hate all the lame diamond commercials.

Wow

How did this train wreck happen? It's offensive enough to begin with, but the fact that its just so poorly done is just the icing on the cake. I'm going to die laughing every time I see a Kay Jewelers add now just thinking of the line "Every kiss begins with FEAR".

Every kiss begins with BLECH

...which is why I asked my fiance for a blue topaz and to not spend over $1000 on my engagement ring. And to no to to an engagement ring store. And to never buy me expensive jewelry until we're older.

And, the necklace is ugly. and over-priced. I just hate these commercials, because it give such a negative message to young women, to expect expensive jewelry. My mom didn't start getting expensive jewelry from my dad until she was 50. But I totally agree with your analysis on the commercial, they were really going for the sensationalism factor: if you really love her and want her to feel secure, buy her expensive things. I'm sorry, but I don't need a material possession to feel secure in my relationship. Ugh.

I love how the woman cowers

I love how the woman cowers in fear and runs to her man for comfort when there's some thunder. I told my husband before we got married that I didn't even need an engagement ring because a) they're too expensive, b)I prefer my fashion accessories to NOT be drenched in the blood of human beings, and c)they're stupid. We didn't even buy the ring set that I got. They were my grandmother's. Oh, and if my husband EVER has $1,800 to just spend on bullshit and he spends it on a fucking necklace, I will strangle him. Handing the money to a drunk hobo on the street would be a better use of it.

Not every diamond is a blood diamond.

There are a plethora of comments on this post that refer to diamond jewelry as if it is ALL from a bloody mine filled with child laborers. There are still people in the business with ethics that would never purchase blood diamonds, no matter the cost.
I completely agree with the distaste for retail establishments such as Kay. They sell ugly, overpriced merchandise and spend millions on marketing. Until I met my husband I was unaware, as many of you are, that there are other, better options. My husband is a wholesale diamond broker. He doesn't deal in blood diamonds and his stones ship direct from Israel where he can verify the source. His overhead is next to nothing and therefore, his customers are paying his salary, not for his overpriced window displays. My suggestion to you all is that if you really don't like nice jewelry, fine, but please don't condemn the jewelry industry as a whole when there are plenty of alternatives to blood diamonds. My husband and our business is one fabulous alternative. I happen to love nice jewelry, but it doesn't make me who I am and it doesn't define my level of happiness. I can proudly wear a $30,000 diamond that I know came from a conflict free mine and I can rest easy knowing we didn't pay a cent over $4,000 for it. That's the beauty of doing business with ethical, good people who care about others and work hard to pass on the deals to the public, not rape them financially.
Since we don't do a whole lot of marketing, I'll take this opportunity to invite each and every one of you to call us for any of your conflict free jewelry needs. PortlandDiamondCo.com

Thanks!

Thanks Lisa, you bring up a great point. I hope everyone who's in the market for a diamond this season purchases it ethically from a store like yours and not from Kay Jewelers!

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Diamonds, making up about 90%

Diamonds, making up about 90% of the world's entire gem trade, are actually the only sort of precious gem whose trade is controlled in any way, in this case the Kimberley Process (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley_Process_Certification_Scheme). Apart from diamonds, there are no international treaties (that I know of) to control gem mining and production practices and ensure the workers get fair wages (or wages at all), time off etc. - it's very much up to the individual countries of origin, their legislation and the amount of control they have over mining companies, and of course the personal/business ethics of others in the production chain (buyers, traders, jewellers, shop owners) to make the gem traceable in the first place.

But as Lisa points out, there are honest and unexploitative operators in the field as well, and it is wise to remember that before sticking the blood diamond or unethical label on everybody categorically. Asking a few simple questions in the shop is a good way to start: if the seller cares about ethical matters, they will at least try to find out if they don't know already.

Regardless of your views on

Regardless of your views on engagement rings/"expensive" jewelry/diamonds, whatever, the commercial is blatantly sexist. So much so, that it can't even begin to appeal to my die-hard romantic side. I mean, it's lightning. Lightning! My cat is less skittish! But of course, the diminutive woman must rely on a big, burly (and yes, creepy) man to protect her. And by lavishing her with jewelry, he can mark his territory to insure that his and only his "strength" will continue to "protect" her.

The whole feel of it is completely derogatory and offensive, not to mention passe. It's like the ad execs were too busy watching Mad Men to come up with a commercial of their own, so they just recycled one from the 1960's. In fact, I'm not sure if I'm more offended by the content, or their complete lack of effort in finding new ways to offend me.

I don't know which I fear the most

first kisses, Kay Jewelers or thunderstorms. I suppose I wouldn't have to be afeared of any of those things if I had two strong arms and a necklace to protect me.

I nearly fell off my chair

I nearly fell off my chair laughing at this advert - you're right, the horror premise to sell diamond rings is an unusual one. It's possibly one of the most ridiculous adverts I've ever seen.

How immoral is this jeweller's slogan as well? 'Every kiss begins with Kay'- surely that's advocating some kind of inherent prostitution?!

That Guy Is Wicked Creepy

I thought I was just getting the horror movie vibe because I'm a big fan of the genre, apparently it wasn't just me though. The first thought I had when I saw this was that the guy had all the previous girls he gave that necklace to locked down in the basement of the cabin or something. I would never go out to a cabin in the woods with that creeper!

Family Guy said it

Family Guy said it best.

Diamonds...she'll pretty much have to.

Who even gives jewelry (or

Who even gives jewelry (or gifts) in such bizarre scenarios - during a thunderstorm? Really? because this is how it goes down for me:

[it is my birthday or Christmas]
[husband and I are exchanging gifts in the comfort of our cheaply furnished apartment]
[I open box ... it is a modest but lovely piece of jewelry]
Me: ooh I love it! thank you!
Him: you're welcome

End scene.

Really ... can't we just be honest? "Honey, here is a gift because A) it is your birthday or a significant holiday that we celebrate with the exchanging of gifts and B) I know you like jewelry and sparkly things."

Isn't that enough? Without some fake stupid story line? My husband gets me jewelry because I like it, and he likes to mark special occasions (when we can afford it). That's it. Not quite so Earth-shattering or requiring a borderline nature disaster.

PS Sarah Haskins says it well ... and funnily: http://current.com/items/89614245_sarah-haskins-in-target-women-jewelry.htm

Love her

Is there anything Sarah Haskins can't do? I am endlessly entertained by her.

You've Gotta Be Kidding..

Throughout the whole thing, all I was thinking was: "Wow. Really? Wooow." I dunno 'bout the rest of you girlies, but lightning is my favorite part of a thunderstorm! It just looks so cool!! And to be honest, I wouldn't be happier being in a log cabin in the middle of the woods during a t-storm, alone or with my guy. Yup, definitely sexist and thoughtless. I hope to never see this commercial on my TV any time soon... ever.

So disturbing and scary

I'm so glad that I'm not the only person to think that guy was creepy. I thought maybe it was just me. But I just saw the commercial again and thought to myself, there's no way in hell that I'm the only person that finds this guy disturbingly creepy." So I decided to google "creepy guy kay's jewelry commercial, and lo and behold, there's a whole crapload of folks that think the same thing.

The first time I saw the commercial and heard him say "I'm right here......and I always will be," all I kept thinking was "it puts the lotion in the basket." And I also thought that the girlfriend needs to haul ass now. That has to be one of the most disturbing commercials ever. It certainly doesn't make me want to take a weekender with the beau at some hidden cabin in the middle of nowhere.

I don't understand what Kay's was thinking. There is nothing remotely romantic about this commercial, unless you think getting chopped up and turned into a lamp shade is romantic. Ick.

yes!

I was creeped by that line, too: "I'm right here...and I always will be...a restraining order can't keep me away..." I was half-expecting him to strangle her with the necklace.

Me and my boyfriend hate

Me and my boyfriend hate these frackin commercials! Actually, I think we both just hate diamonds and everything they represent...Anyway, I am so glad someone else thinks the same way I do about this commercial.

"Sleeping with the Enemy"

Reminds me of that Julia Roberts movie...

I actually said "UGH" out

I actually said "UGH" out loud the first time I saw this. I won't let the BF buy a thing from them EVER just because of this insulting commercial.

kay sucks bad

every kiss should not begin with a god damn jewelry company, much less a material object...
Jesus!

Thank you

for posting this so I could find it. I was trying to describe this to someone, but words did not suffice.

If this isn't bad enough, I saw this ad a few weeks ago, and at the end it reminded people that mothers' day was coming up. Yes, not even your mom is safe.

ugh

If my boyfriend somehow had $2,000 and spent it on jewelry for me, I would have been like, "WTF, we could have gone on vacation! Or paid utilities for a couple months with that."

Yeah its a sappy commercial and all but the guy in this...

is being called "creepy?" That's a bit subjective. However, what kind of man is he supposed to be representing anyway? He's never seen a storm that bad in all his what, 10-15 years he's been "coming up here?" Really? Plus, what is the qualifier for "creepy?" Just because the commercial looks like a clip from some psycho-thriller? What does this say about the Julia Roberts look-alike? (Being subjective, I always thought she looked creepy) Its an advertisement that certainly reinforces very outdated stereotypes to sell pretty rocks during monotheistic holiday (pagan roots aside). As a straight white male, the message and stereotypes bug me (yes, we open minded white straight males do exist!) because they mislead and are about making someone else rich.

Happy Non denominational winter holiday everyone!

Subjective, definitely.

Hi Paul,

Yes, this blog post is subjective. And yes, it is the fact that "the commercial looks like a clip from some psycho thriller" that led me to the "creepy" conclusion. As I say in the post, the way he sidles up behind his lady friend creeps me out. Hence, "creepy."

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

creepmaster flex

also creepy: the way he says "I'm right here...", at which point in the horror movie b-side to this commercial, he would have said the same thing except pulled out a knife, not a ring. to symbolize his undying love. unDYING. get it??

Remember: the ad is directed at men

Ads, like the TV shows they endorse, are geared to one audience, and create another. My guess is that Kay sees its primary clients being Conservatives, presumably indifferent to the provenance of the diamonds, and in traditional M/F relationships, with $1800 cash to spend on uninspired, mass-produced jewelry. This makes a nauseatingly trite, sexist ad seem perfect for the intended customer. An adult who is frightened by thunder belongs in a Regency romance. She doesn't need diamonds; she needs someone to loosen her stays, waft smelling salts under her nose, and ring the parlourmaid to bring a soothing tisane.

right on

great article. Our society is so stuck in unnecessary superficial values that it completely ignores the true nature of what makes us happy. Although I don't really agree with the title :)

I really sweated the whole

I really sweated the whole buying a diamond engagement ring thing, but I found a Canadian diamond company in Alberta that was fair trade, used ecologically minded mining practices, and I bought it through a gay jeweler in San Francisco. After all that, I was okay buying a diamond. Thank goodness there are places to buy them outside the deBeers cartel.

Give Me A Break

Look, I am all for women's rights and equality, but this is ridiculous. First, there are more DIRE things happening to women all over the world as we speak, but instead, you guys are BITCHING (no pun attended) about some damn commericial, but then, of course, use the whole "blood diamond" thing, so it won't look like you're bitching about something trival as a commericial, when the reality is that probably quite a few of you don't give a damn about the whole blood diamond thing anyway. Because if that were the case, then EVERY diamond commericial would be posted on here. But quess what? There isn't. So don't exploit a REAL issue to prove your point for your crappy opinions.
Second, the commercial is not "creepy" or "disturbing." Granted, I feel the commercial is corny myself, but this commericial does not reinforce an image of the "weaK" woman or the woman in danger or anything. Believe it or not, it is perfectly natural for a woman to want to feel like she is being protected by her spouse, even if she is one of the women here who bitches over trival stuff likr this. There is nothing wrong or disturbing for a woman to want to feel protected by someone she loves. It does not make her any less of a feminist or a woman is can take care of herself, nor does that make others feel that she should be degraded in every way because she feels that. It is just a damn commericial.
I'm sure you are aware of the image that feminists have to combat with everyday. Bitching over stuff like this DOES NOT help that image at all. Just saying.

First, there are more DIRE

First, there are more DIRE things happening to women all over the world as we speak,

http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#moreimportantly

Actually, I was bitching about the commercial.

Hi Anonymous,

I'm having a hard time understanding where you're coming from here. This is a pop culture blog, and I very much WAS bitching about the commercial itself—not trying to "exploit a REAL issue" to prove my point. I think the stereotypical portrayal of women in commercials IS a real issue and I have no desire to disguise that fact.

As Anonymous (a different one) has already pointed out, this is a derailing comment. If there are issues that are far more DIRE to you than diamond commercials, feel free to visit websites that cover those issues instead of this one.

____________
Kelsey Wallace, contributor

Ask me about our Comments Policy!

Anyone notice how she doesn't

Anyone notice how she doesn't say one word? Geez

I saw this ad on television a

I saw this ad on television a few days ago and was surprised by the ridiculousness of the fear reaction &c. ... so glad someone else was upset by it, too.

no jewelry for me

I hate these commericials at any time of the year. I hate jewelry, there really isn't any use for it. I do wear sterling sliver rings and a pentacle and (two double zero) gauges in my ear, but never gold or diamonds. I told my bf that I never want an engagement ring, its a total waste of money. Not to mention a brand saying 'this-my-woman' urgh, icky.

I am not alone

I have no friends that relate to my feminism except for the people I find on-line. Every time I see this commercial I change it, bust up laughing at how corny it is, or keep myself from throwing up. The most recent time seeing it was a couple days ago and it was my first time seeing it while with somebody else, who happened to be the man in my life. We were watching ESPN, and this idiotic commercial comes on. I had never seen it after smoking weed, and it was just the funniest thing. I tried to explain to him why it was so funny (and irrelevant to my life.) Point of the story is, I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought this commercial was ridiculous. They could have at least hired better actors.

I didn't think that the guy

I didn't think that the guy was creepy, but the commercial is definitely offensive. For heaven's sake, most women (unless we're talking about a person with an extreme phobia) aren't afraid of thunderstorms. This ad teaches young women that they need to act helpless in order to attract a mate. Ugh!

Every kiss begins with Kays

Not every kiss begins with Kays...Gay-Straight one nighters rarely start this way, they start with a straight guy staying out to late, and a gay buying him a few too many drinks...Then before you know it, the straight guy is sitting on the end of the bed crying, with some blood sprinkled out of his asshole, he realizes what he has done and is still so badly hung over he is missing his sons soccer game, as the gay man usually offers him(the straight) more cocaine and not a diamond from Kays