Best Catalog Copy 2011: These Came Close

Dec 14, 2011 10:30 PM  By

View Hershell’s picks for The Best and Worst in Ecommerce and Catalog Copy 2011


Much of the copy in this catalog, aimed primarily at young (and would-be young) adult women, is written in the first person. That can be a dangerous ploy, but in this catalog it works because it’s both personal and convivial: “When I was a kid, I decorated my camp trunks with paisley” … “When the temp is downright frigid, and no one in her right mind would be outdoors, we pull on our Arctic Training pant and head outside.” Readable, credible and salesworthy.


A catalog that lists wine after wine and makes a quick and compelling sales argument for each one is worthy of recognition. One that avoids the smug hauteur so many wine “experts” display is worthy of applause. That’s Bounty Hunter. Typical is this description of a collection of three Pinor Noir wines, titled “Pinot Paradise”: “Versatile, silky and always a solid bet on the dinner table, Pinot Noir is being collected and drunk like never before. We showcase three quality examples of the noble grape here. It’s a gift that’s sure to get the attention of the Pinotphile in your life!”


Some wording in this catalog’s generally superior copy has me puzzled. Unquestionably, the copywriter or copywriters command a large talent. But some words generate a “Huh?” reaction. Example, first words of a description of a “Limited Edition Louviere Fire Screen”: “Literally dripping with elegance, this breathtaking crystal-embellished fire screen is a mirror reflection of the crystal chandeliers gracing the grandest interiors.” Dripping with elegance? Uh — is that a plus or a minus?


Here’s another distaff-aimed catalog whose copy has to motivate the buying impulse. (Sadly or happily for me, I don’t qualify for most of its products.) Benefit-laden wording, even for items the skimmer may regard as trivial, says, “Here’s a problem solver.” A minor example is a copy-block headed, “Stubborn chin hairs are no match for these tweezers.” Text begins: “Grab those pesky hairs with the stay-sharp polymer tips on these tweezers and say goodbye to aggravating feminine stubble.” Pointed, clear, and convincing.


Every year, I express admiration for the superior copy in these catalogs. Enough already! I can’t automatically include them in the top five, which would be starting a dynasty — so with apologies, this year they’ll just get an acknowledgment.