Gall’s, 98L Fall Edition

Sep 01, 1999 9:30 PM  By

As a cataloger of supplies for police officers, firefighters, and other public safety professionals, Gall’s needs to reinforce its reliability and credibility time and time again. After all, customers who buy items such as body armor and riot gear are putting their lives in the cataloger’s hands. And as far as the Annual Catalog Awards judges are concerned, Gall’s easily earns its customers’ trust. “I believe every word in the catalog,” says one panelist, “and when my life might depend on its merchandise, that’s the highest praise I can give.”

Gall’s wins such praise largely with its benefit-laden product copy, which “strikes the perfect balance between clear, technical descriptions and energetic, interesting selling,” says a judge. “Specifications are complete and easily understood; headlines are succinct and based on customer benefits.” Take this headline: “Better Training = Better Officers. The Life You Save May Be Your Own!” Or this description of a leg restraint: “Super tough nylon web leg restraint protects you and your prisoner during transportation. You can concentrate on the road ahead while your prisoner is safely secured in the back seat….”

The panel also praises the catalog’s explanations of its service policies: “They’re presented in an easy-to-read manner, not pompous or ponderous as in so many other b-to-b books.” The policies themselves – particularly the “no hassle guarantee” and the lease-to-own option offered to government agencies and nonprofit groups – garner kudos as well, though one judge feels that Gall’s should promote them more strenuously throughout the book.

On the other hand, a few of the judges contend that the catalog’s design is a little too strong. With its lack of white space and its competing headlines, subheads, tip boxes, insets, borders, and charts, one panelist feels that the design comes across as “10 pounds in a five-pound bag. Each page has just too much action and content.” Another judge adds that the design is “getting tired.”

But several judges note that the color-coding of the banners, display backgrounds, and table of contents by product category greatly aids navigation through the catalog’s exhaustive merchandise selection. And a few members of the panel applaud printing the prices and SKUs in bold, readable type.

So maybe Gall’s isn’t pretty. But neither is protecting the public. And given the catalog’s sterling sales results, it’s apparent that safety professionals are more concerned with performance than appearance. It’s clear to the judging panel that when it comes to performance, Gall’s delivers.