Consumer Specialty Products, Sales Over $20 Million

GOLD: Print Channel

The Orvis Co., The Dog Book, Fall 2009

It’s easy to have great catalog covers when your subject is dogs, but outdoor gear and apparel cataloger/retailer The Orvis Co. raises the bar on cute canines with The Dog Book. The shot of Dylan, the Golden Retriever “coverdog” swimming with a tennis ball in his mouth, is a serious winner. “It’s hard not to fall in love with this catalog cover,” a judge said.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: The cover is not only cute, it’s part of a cause: The photo of Dylan is the winner of a cover dog contest in support of a Canine Cancer Prevention Campaign. One judge noted that the contest was an excellent marketing tool that was “well executed with a great tie-in to the canine cancer prevention program.”

This book offers excellent copy packaged with a “compelling and friendly voice,” another judge said. What separates Orvis is its emphasis on the “dog as part of the family, not necessarily as a pet,” observed one panelist. Judges praised the guides for dog beds and gates, which offered a comprehensive glance at a variety of different products in those categories. And product color choices are easy to decipher and select.

IDEA TO STEAL: The Dog Book captures the essence of cause promotion with its cover contest and cancer campaign. As one panelist said: “Create a common passion with a target audience — in this case, dog lovers, not just dog owners.” — JT

SILVER: Print Channel

Vitacost.com, Fall 2009

Selling dietary supplements, cosmetics, organic personal care products and health foods in a catalog can be a tall order. But Vitacost.com, which sells about 30,000 SKUs from more than 1,600 brands, embraces this task in award-winning style.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: Vitacost.com does a “great job merchandising for customer concerns,” one judge said. The catalog effectively groups items to make it easy to shop, and uses strong editorial that supports the marketing and merchandise.

The book sells numerous products on each page, “but with good reference and organization,” thanks to strong headlines and use of color, a panelist said. The catalog reinforces an even broader offering of product on the Website, and includes solid calls to action and promos — including offers for free gifts and one-price shipping.

A helpful index on page 3, and the depth of product broken out by customer concerns, one judge said, “really helps the ease of shopping.” And the bound-in order form is “excellent in presenting the guarantee and ordering form information.”

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD: The front cover, which has pictures of bottles of vitamins, was uninspiring and could have used some lifestyle imagery. “They have a tough visual task when it comes to their products on the cover,” admitted one panelist, “but there are no benefits communicated here. There is nothing to inspire one to look further, unless the reader is someone motivated by jars of vitamins.” — JT

GOLD: Web Channel

eBags.com

Ebags offers thousands of handbags, luggage, laptop bags, duffle bags and the accessories to go with them. Yet the site is neat and organized, and it’s developed such a loyal following that it can rely on its customers to do most of its selling.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: Ebags is a master at incorporating user-generated content such as ratings and reviews, so it can use sparse vendor-driven product copy. But the judges also thought ebags did a fine job with the benefits-oriented bullets.

“Check out every page, from the home page right through the checkout,” said one panelist. “There is a wealth of knowledge to learn about merchandising, calls to action, hierarchy of design, usability, customer service tools and a very effective checkout process — the best checkout I saw in this year’s judging.”

On product pages, ebags is effectively using dynamic imaging, alternate images, color swap and view-on-model imagery. “Excellent hierarchy, clean yet conveys a ton of different offers, calls to action and customer service tools,” said one judge.

IDEA TO STEAL: Ebags allows searching, filtering, auto-correcting and auto-filling, then comparisons between products. “This is how they’re able to offer the massive assortment of merchandise they do without it feeling overwhelming,” a panelist said. — TP

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