OK, back to Planet Earth.
Look out … here come some opinions that stretch the meaning of the word “scrutiny.” (Don’t agree with these selections? Re-holster your Glock and save your bullets for your own copy. These are just mortal opinions.)
The word “worst,” in this analysis, is just comparative, not absolute. So, no, no, no, there’s nothing organically wrong with the copy in these catalogs. If we hadn’t structured an artificial competition they’d sail along unassailed. But we dismiss them in the hothouse we’ve formed, as “workmanlike.”
A dangerous but apt comparison points out that catalog copy, unlike direct mail or email, has to kill with one blow, in the midst of competition. Looking inward instead of outward can cause damage in the most valuable and most vulnerable spot, the “Do I want this?” factor.
And oh, yes, an online catalog can draw attention to pits and scars and scabs that pass unnoticed in a printed catalog. Biggest problem an online catalog faces: connection with the target-prospect is delayed.
That nasty comment applies far more to a web-wanderer who for the first time types in the company name and then is mired in treacle by having to supply endless identification than it does to a prior customer who is returning home.