Food/Gifts, Sales Over $20 Million

GOLD: Print Channel

Cushman’s First Harvest 2009

The tagline on the front cover of Cushman’s Fruit Co.’s First Harvest 2009 catalog reads “A tradition of uncommon fruit since 1945.” The judges felt that this purveyor of edible gifts produced a catalog of uncommon excellence.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: Cushman’s offers a wealth of price points by bundling and packaging its oranges, grapefruits and flagship HoneyBells in so many creative ways: “Straight from the Grove” Baskets, Happy Holidays Gift Trays, cartons, crates and continuity clubs, in a variety of sizes and prices.

Judges singled out what one called “the playful tone of the copy” as a particular strength. “The copy is very personal, giving the catalog a voice. And that voice is fun!”

IDEA TO STEAL: If you have a perennial best-seller, consider giving it a true hero treatment — not only in how you handle it creatively within the catalog, but also in its packaging. Cushman’s does this right with its HoneyBell grapefruit/tangerine hybrid fruit. — SC

GOLD: Print Channel

Harry & David, Holiday Gift Collection 2009

When discussing the Harry & David catalogs, people immediately rave about the fabulous photography. But it takes more than pretty or even mouth-wateringly luscious pictures to win an MCM Award.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: At its core, food is a commodity. But Harry & David bundles and packages its food gifts to ensure that they’re perceived as high-value, distinctive items. From the Cheesecake Party Wheel (“We’ve reinvented the wheel: four rapturous new flavors”) to the spruce tree adorned with teddy bears to the combination packages (Champagne & Chocolate; Pears, Stilton & Walnuts; Wreath of Fruit; Smorgasbox), Harry & David has put its imprimatur on them all. As one judge said, the merchant has created “a wonderful selection of merchandise that continues to excite, time and again.”

IDEAL TO STEAL: For repeat customers, Harry & David included a list of what they had ordered for whom the previous year. This reminds folks of their (presumably) satisfactory prior experiences with the brand while helping out harried holiday shoppers. — SC

SILVER: Print Channel

The Orvis Co., Ultimate Gift Guide, Holiday 2009

It’s virtually impossible for a retailer to offer something for everyone. But the judges believed that with its Ultimate Gift Guide, Holiday 2009, the Orvis Co. came close.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: It’s all about the merchandise. From the Sled Cocktail Table on page 4 to the Zero Gravity Helios Fly Rod Outfits on the back cover, and with apparel, toys, luggage, watches and dog beds in between, this Orvis title sells “a wide range of products and then some,” said a judge.

“This catalog has over 300 pages and over 700 items, plus copy to lead the customer online if he or she wants to see more,” said another judge. “The products are unique, and even the most mundane, like socks, are sold lovingly, with testimonials, callouts, and lots of detailed and informative copy.”

The copy, in fact, received kudos as well, with one judge declaring it “an example of excellence.” Product descriptions called out benefits and features alike in a friendly but not cloying tone.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD AWARD: The use of knockout type and copy of backgrounds scattered throughout hindered readability. “I think all their type is too small for their market,” which skews middle-age and older, noted one judge. In addition, a few of the spreads were deemed “boxy” or “crowded.” — SC

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