Children’s Products

GOLD: Print Channel

Hanna Andersson, Holiday 2009

Parents want their children’s clothes to be fun and functional. By featuring beguiling photos alongside detailed copy, Hanna Andersson’s Christmas 2009 catalog, like the apparel it sells, manages to be both.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: Hanna Andersson specializes in brightly colored clothes for kids, and thanks to wonderful photography and topnotch production, “the colors pop off the page,” to quote a judge. Silhouetted product shots are interspersed with lifestyle photos of laughing, smiling, running, crawling kids modeling the wares.

The product copy describes how many buttons and other fasteners each item has. The copy calls out benefits as well, such as “wonderfully washable”; “lightweight, non-bulky warmth”; and “socks that really stay on baby feet!”

IDEA TO STEAL: One of the pages selling footwear includes a size chart with instructions on how to accurately measure a child’s foot. Not only is this useful to include, but placing it in the same section as the shoes to which it relates makes shopping easier. — Sherry Chiger

SILVER: Print Channel

Chasing Fireflies, Autumn 2009

For kids, Halloween is the second most important holiday of the year. In its Autumn 2009 catalog, which was devoted to Halloween, Chasing Fireflies promotes its costumes and accessories by capturing children’s delight in the festivities.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: The judges singled out two attributes in particular — the visuals and the merchandise selection. The joy that the models took in showing off the elaborate costumes was apparent from their grins and poses. “I loved the whole playful concept throughout,” summed up one judge. The panel praised the breadth, depth and uniqueness of the product selection. For kids who turned up their noses at the standard costumes — and for the adults who were willing to pay as much as $98 for an ensemble — Chasing Fireflies was clearly the go-to source.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD: The front cover, with its photo of a child slumbering amid autumn leaves, provided no indication of what was inside. “There was no carry-through from the front cover to the opening spread at all,” noted one judge, while another decried the lack of coverlines and even a phone number or URL. — SC

SILVER: Web Channel

Baby products merchant One Step Ahead has carved out a solid business selling unique products, and guarantees that its customers can shop with confidence in its e-commerce site. The MCM Awards judges clearly felt that confidence.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: “The home page packs a lot of information in a clear, brand-consistent way,” a judge said. “Promotions are strong, as are key seasonal categories and features.”‘s cross-merchandising is logical and well done, according to the judging panel. For example, the suggested items for a child’s rocking chair were other bedroom accessories: a sling bookshelf with storage bins, a collapsible toy box and pillow covers.

The site offers plenty of user-generated content like ratings and reviews — One Step Ahead has one of the better implementations of Power Reviews, a judge said. And its smart search returned relevant items by keyword and not just product type.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD: The copy is good for a catalog, but it’s not written for the Web, plus the page titles are weak from an SEO perspective. For Web copy, “it’s marginal at best,” a judge said. “There are no headlines, subheads, captions, quick facts, or other things that the online user prefers.” — TP

Children’s Products

GOLD: Print Channel

Hanna Andersson, Holiday 2008

Hanna does the holidays right. The front cover of Hanna Andersson’s Holiday 2008 edition shows a little girl, clad in a matching red snowflake print dress and stocking cap, kicking back in an ornate white chair. The outfit captures the spirit of the season, “and the fancy chair carries a wintry formality,” said one judge.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: “Hanna has mastered the mix-and-match product assortment,” said one judge. “The approach lets them offer hundreds of SKUs in a very organized fashion.” Design is also where Hanna shines. “Great eyeflow, good design and wonderful photography,” gushed one judge.

“I find the way the book is designed in spreads very compelling,” added another panelist. “Even when the products are not matching, the coordination of the colors, styles and fabrics for parents and kids makes each spread feel unique and complete.”

IDEA TO STEAL: “I love the easy shipping table, and how Hanna addresses the customer’s needs: Will it get there on time? YES! Too busy to wrap?…” said one judge. “What an improvement over the classic “Guaranteed Delivery” and “Gift Wrap Available.” — MD

Director/designer: Yvette Velasquez

Creative director: Mary Wilson

Marketing director: Alison Polenz

Circulation manager: Polly Hodson

Print/production director: Lee Beckman

Merchandiser: Jackie Ardrey

Copywriter: Elizabeth Gottfried

Photographer/illustrator: Troy Plota

Printer/color separator/prepress provider: R.R. Donnelley

List broker: Millard Group

Next Page: L.L. Bean Kids catalog

SILVER: Print Channel

L.L. Bean, Kids, Spring 2008

Go fly a kite” is the message on this L.L. Bean Kids catalog. Not in a bad way, of course, but as in, literally, fly a kite, have a ball, enjoy your spring in Bean’s colorful, comfortable and durable clothing.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: First, there’s the product assortment. “The merchandise is perfect for spring-into-summer activities for kids,” said one judge. “And it’s displayed in active settings to show off comfort and fit.”

Then there’s the creative: “High-energy images and colors add a lot to a kids book,” a judge said. “There’s a nice mix of lifestyle shots with dense product placement,” added another panelist. “The density is well broken up with the lifestyle shots.”

And the copy “deftly combines fit hints and characteristics that result in long-wearing and practical clothing,” commented a judge.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD AWARD: The panel felt this book deserved better paper. “The paper the piece is printed on is a fairly dingy grade,” lamented a judge. — MD

Director: Don Oakes

Designer: Vivian Page

Creative directors: Jenna Klein Jonsson, Marcia Minter

Associate creative director: Christopher Seid

Marketing director: Nancy Dynan-Fischman,

Print/production director: Jason Kendeigh

Merchandiser: Amy Steenstra

Copywriter: Kristen Stewart

Art directors: Betty Fuller, Elise Plakke

Printer/color separator/prepress provider: Quad Graphics

List broker: Millard Group