Scat, copycats

In Glenda Shasho Jones’s article this month, titled “The 10 most common creative mistakes” (page 119), the number-three mistake is copycat creative. Indeed, many catalogers still unabashedly “borrow” creative looks from other mailers. The proof is in the mailbox: Ours is filled with clones of women’s apparel cataloger J. Jill, as many of its rivals try to cash in on the company’s success. Nordstrom’s 2nd Nature, Boston Proper, and L.L. Bean’s Freeport Studio are just a few catalogers that are starting to look a lot like J. Jill. Even upscale cataloger Brooks Brothers and moderate-priced mailer J.C. Penney (in the Especially for Talls book) have become J. Jill-esque. Then there’s the Spiegel home decor spin-off Elements – a dead ringer for the now-defunct J. Jill home title People Places Things. As Jones points out, the end result of copycat creative is watered-down creative – and sales – for everyone.

(For more on how copycats have affected J. Jill’s sales, see “J. Jill bids Nicole farewell,” page 5.)

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