Apparel, Sales Over $20 Million

GOLD: Print Channel

The Orvis Co., The Sporting Tradition, Fall 2009

Orvis knows hunting, and if there is any doubt about this, the copy in The Sporting Tradition title will soon clear it up. The book includes several strongly branded passages “written as if from a novel that exemplifies the love of hunting in places known for tranquil beauty,” according to one judge.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: The catalog cover is “executed to perfection,” said one judge. Orvis’s creative strategy conveys a consistent personality throughout the book “that is in keeping with the needs of its customers.”

Photography is excellent — you can really see the texture on the merchandise, noted a judge. With some shots, “you feel like you can reach out and touch the product.” The extensive brown/khaki/olive color palettes could become monochromatic in a lesser catalog, another panelist said, “but Orvis handles that well.”

And the customer service policies? The guarantee statement is strong and simple, said one panelist. “Top of class,” said another judge about the service. “A lesson for new catalogers.”

IDEA TO STEAL: You can devote ample space to editorial if you truly know your product line and your customer. For example, on a spread titled “Estate Shooting,” that sells tartan shirts and Scottish tweed vests, Orvis devotes a full page to a “British Estate Shooting Glossary.” It’s brilliant — and pure Orvis, said one judge. “The perfect match between target audience and merchandise.” — MD

SILVER: Print Channel

Spanx, Spring 2009

A great brand is one that customers want to be a part of, according to one MCM Awards judge. The Spring 2009 edition of the Spanx catalog of bodyshapers, foundation garments and slimming intimate apparel exemplifies this concept and helped make this book a winner.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: The opening letter from Spanx founder Sara Blakely sets the tone. How’s this for engaging institutional copy: “Wherever I go, I always get asked, ‘What inspired you to invent Spanx?’ And my answer is always the same: ‘My own butt!’”

Overall copy is lighthearted, easy to read and speaks to the demographic, said one judge. It also works hard: “Descriptions help explain how the product provides a solution, while at the same time providing necessary information,” the judge said. Spanx uses headlines and personalization to create interest, a panelist said. And customer testimonials are believable and sell a higher order benefit.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD: There is way too much editorial on the hot spots of the catalog and it’s not as organized as it could be. “I would suggest not so many type treatments, as it’s a bit distracting,” a judge said. — MD

SILVER: Web Channel

Express.com

Apparel and accessories retailer Express targets a hip, urban audience, and the Express.com Website captures just the right edgy attitude. It also nails the e-commerce best practices.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: The Express.com site is easy to shop from, and it handles misspellings and product searches beautifully. The consistent photography and use of alternate views delighted the judging panel. The product pages allow the user to zoom in to get a better look at the fabrics and textures.

Express.com also incorporates user reviews to sell goods. The panelists felt the use of a “runs small/large” bar — which gives the user a chance to describe the fit — within the user reviews was a tremendous value-add.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD: The darkness of the site may convey coolness, but Express.com needs to lighten up a bit to improve readability. Though the background on product pages is white, the white text on a black background on registration pages and the left-hand navigation made viewing difficult. — TP

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