For centuries, demure Japanese brides with their white face make-up and painted red lips were happy with obi, a kimono sash, as a gift. De Beers changed all that in the late 1960s. An ad blitz drove the message that it’s the diamond ring that symbolised the modern woman. A market was born.
Decades later, a lobby of gold miners tried something similar in India. It hired the leading lady in the most-watched saas-bahu soap to run a string of ads on television and in newspapers, where the lady, by then a household name, told her adoring viewers how lucky it was to buy gold on Akshaya Tritiya — a holy day for Hindus and Jains. A day later, a few elderly Parsi ladies stepped into a showroom in Dadar to buy gold. It was 2004.