Catalyst, 1997 Cycling Guide

As the photo montage on the front cover-a cyclist in a variety of manifestations, from racer to student to someone on a lark-indicates, the 1997 Cycling Guide from Catalyst Communications offers something for every kind of biker. According to one judge, the cover “tells me that no matter what kind of cyclist I am, the catalog has the products for me.” And through the merchandising, Catalyst delivers on this promise. “There’s certainly plenty to get me into the stores of Catalyst’s retail clients,” comments a judge.

Products, which range from mountain bikes to baby seats, car racks to nutritional energy bars, work toward meeting the needs of the diverse cycling market. Well organized, the book enables shoppers to “flow through product categories” with ease, as one panelist notes. The table of contents on page 3 stands out against a pink background, and headings on each page further help the customer navigate the catalog.

The judges particularly appreciate the copy, which is “informative and thorough,” says a judge. “It is very descriptive and should be an aid to any people not well informed.” Another judge notes that the copy “answers the question ‘Why do I need this?'” Take this headline for a pedal: “Pedal smarter, not harder. Shoe-and-pedal systems significantly increase your pedaling efficiency.”

What’s more, with its tip boxes, the catalog aims to educate as well as sell. Several sidebars in the helmet section, for instance, inform consumers of how to fit a helmet, how to adjust the strap, and what a helmet is made of. Not all the panelists applaud the wealth of editorial, though. At least one judge declares that “there’s almost an overkill of information” that detracts from selling product.

Judges give the design high marks for eyeflow. Products are surrounded by plenty of white space, are well balanced on the page, and are detailed enough to pique a consumer’s interest. Only the printing and the choice of paper garner scores of less than “excellent” from the judges, and even those are deemed “good.”

Overall, Catalyst’s 1997 Cycling Guide remains true to its mission of “communicating the excitement” of bicycling products, as its entry form states, as well as generating store traffic and representing retailer clients in the best possible light. The syndicated catalog “seamlessly integrates the local store into the presentation,” one judge notes, with its opening letter customized from the various store owners and plug-ins of the retail stores name throughout. “I had no clue that this was a syndicated catalog,” one judge marvels. “They did a great job.”

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