Gifts Over $75, Silver Award: Orvis, Clothing & Gifts, Holiday 2000

You might think that a front cover photograph of two puppies in a twig basket would be an automatic win for a cataloger. And, indeed, several judges praised Orvis’s Holiday 2000 cover for creating an outdoorsy, gift-giving mood. As one judge said, “A cover that is not only suitable for framing, but one that builds and reinforces the Orvis brand!”

Another judge, however, thought that the photo was too generic and did nothing to establish the Orvis brand or to hint at the range of merchandise inside. And indeed, the catalog sells a broad range of product — women’s apparel, men’s apparel, home accessories, and gifts, all with a distinctive country twang. From children’s Cuddlebags for sleepovers to Sunlight Bulbs to beat the winter blues, this catalog has something for everyone. As one judge said, “If you can’t get it here, you won’t find it anywhere.”

Overall the copy received high marks from the panelists. One judge summed it up as “easy to read, utilitarian, and well suited for the intended audience with sufficient information to make an informed purchase.” Another judge said, “It is simple, down-to-earth, and no-nonsense in keeping with the Orvis image.”

But at least one panelist felt that the design needs a little work. The front of the catalog, which is devoted mostly to women’s fashions, does not have good eye flow, said the judge, “and the distracting backgrounds make the small body copy difficult to read. The positioning of the models and merchandise creates difficulty in quickly connecting products and captions.”

The panelists praised the catalog’s customer service and the well-designed, information-laden order form. Customers can personalize purchases with engraving (for watches), embroidery, brass plate, or leather embossing. The 800-number and Web address are displayed prominently on the order form and throughout the book. The order form even has a phone number for overseas ordering and a Spanish-language 800-number. Orvis also offers an “iron-clad” guarantee and return policy on any purchase. What’s more, page 3 of the catalog highlights services available, such as gift certificates, gift-wrapping, and the company’s contribution of 5% of pretax profits to conservation efforts.

A judge proclaimed the book “an enjoyable catalog to peruse, and one gets the feeling that a gift can be found among the collection.” Another judge concluded, “It’s Orvis…and that’s good.”

The Orvis Co.
Historic Route 7A
Manchester, VT 05254
Company founded: 1856
Catalog launched: 1982
Director: Bill Eyre
Designers: Rich Mills, David Lindberg, Sam Allen
Production managers: Meg Cassin, Susan Murphy, Bonnie Marsh
Merchandisers: Sharon McNamara, Jim LePage, Kathy Gauthier
Copywriters: Bob Dagley, Tom Murray
Photographers: Geoffrey Baris, Ed Thomas, Mark Rockwood, H/O Photography
Marketing director: Eric Johnson
Printer: Quad/Graphics
List broker/manager: Millard Group
Cover paper: 80 lb.
Text paper: 32 lb.
Number of pages: 328
Trim size: 8″ × 10-1/2″

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