Gold for Black. Softway

Softway takes home the gold at the 55th Annual AAF-Houston ADDYs for the Black by Brian Gavin interactive campaign.

We put our heart and soul into everything we do, and good work is a reward all its own.

But having a little hardware to add to the shelf never hurts.

On March 9 at the 55th Annual AAF-Houston ADDY Awards, Softway received three awards: a Citation of Excellence for our work on GhostCodes, a Silver ADDY for our work on HP’s What the Tech Wednesday—and most impressively—a Gold ADDY for our Black by Brian Gavin interactive campaign.

Here’s a little of the thought that went into making Black by Brian Gavin the big winner.

Black by Brian Gavin: Where it all startedBBBG logo

While examining one of his Signature diamonds, Brian Gavin, founder of, discovered something unique — something he’d never seen before. Brian began rigorously testing different cutting angles to unlock the light potential of his Signature diamonds. After years of experimentation and collaboration with the American Gemological Society, a new scientific class of diamond was born—Black by Brian Gavin.

As his long-time creative partner, Brian turned to Softway to bring it to market.

The challenge

Developing and launching a new luxury brand was no small feat, and we kept these four questions in our heads throughout the process. How to connect with all of our purchasing audiences (older, international, and younger)? How to avoid cannibalizing other categories or diminishing the new brand? How to make our audiences feel comfortable buying the most expensive diamonds online? And how to make Black by Brian Gavin stand out and resonate in a saturated and diminishing diamond market?

Our solution

Like all Softway projects, we started with data. In our research, we found that mature, more affluent buyers were the main audience—but we didn’t want to create a brand that felt out of reach for younger prospects. We knew we had to position the Black by Brian Gavin brand for the one audience EVERY BRAND ON EARTH is trying to connect with—Millennials.

Millennials – the rational and emotional

While it’s easy to say that Millennials are emotional buyers, their purchasing drivers are also immensely rational. They opt for brands with a story, they like to do their research, and they care about the craftsmanship and the people behind products. We wanted to make sure we told the story of Black by Brian Gavin and provided plenty of diamond education to go along with it.

Aspiration & Nostalgia – two powerful tools

We realized that by marrying the emotional and rational within the Black by Brian Gavin brand, we could do two things: 1) create an aspirational lifestyle brand rooted in data for our Millennial buyers, and 2) create a sense of nostalgia that would entice our mature audience. This balance of the “emotional” and the “rational” inspired our campaign theme: When you know.™

From the elegant logo and high-contrast, youthful photography, to the unexpected package design and emotional videos, everything was built to create a product brand that Millennials could aspire to own—and one that would remind older audiences of a more care-free time.
We also provided ways to research the brand, including a video that told the full story and a website rich with diamond education. We housed the Black by Brian Gavin site within to keep the new brand connected, but we created a completely unique web experience to give it a separate identity.


We launched the Black by Brian Gavin campaign with display ads and an automated email series that drove traffic to the microsite. Teaser emails and videos helped create excitement around the site launch, which also included a special VIP pre-launch for customers with a higher spend history with Brian Gavin Diamonds.
The results of the Softway campaign surpassed all expectations of both Brian and our team—within the first three months, sales of Black by Brian Gavin accounted for 20% of the company’s total annual revenue.

See our work for yourself at Ready to get some award-winning work of your own? Give us a shout.


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