Magalog maestro Fujisankei Living Service has created a monster. More than a catalog, with a slicker feel and some complementary editorial, House Styling is an authority on home furnishings right from the cover. Not only does it offer its own interpretations of ideal interiors, catering to different levels of taste and affordability, but the cover also promises a glimpse at the tastes of three Japanese television personalities.
Inside, the array of products is a “dramatic assortment of different styles of furniture, different room environments, different accessories, appealing to different age groups and different tastes,” according to one judge. Fujisankei’s mastery in exploiting House Styling’s magalog format is most evident in its product photography. “What great room settings-you get the impression you could move right in,” says one judge. “The propping and accessorizing are so appropriate. This excellent attention to detail is everywhere!” House Styling pairs photos of entire rooms with photos of individual products, detailing each element of the complete scene.
Fujisankei mails this catalog directly to its large house file; the book is also distributed in bookstores throughout Japan. The company boasts that response rates from the bookstore circulation are double those from the mailed copies. The company also supports the catalog with cross-promotions from a new House Styling retail venture, Japan’s first catalog store, and gains even more widespread promotion by exclusively featuring House Styling furnishings on a popular Japanese television drama that, Fujisankei claims, reaches more than 20 million potential customers every week.
Yet the catalog’s customer service is more reminiscent of a smaller, specialty mailer than of a fast-growing, major business concern. House Styling demonstrates its commitment to keeping customers informed and happy by dedicating a full page to an explanation of knockdown furniture and differences among its various furniture finishes. The inside back cover spread provides a detailed explanation of company policies, ordering information (including a sample of a completed order form), and an outline of credit card services.
Fujisankei has created a dream marketing vehicle, a decorating guide, and a trusted reference for a large, diverse audience. And very few catalogers-whether in the U.S., Japan, or anywhere else around the globe-can successfully pull off such a powerful combination of savvy marketing prowess, information, and personality.