The judges used the word “typical” a lot in describing Patagonia’s Holiday 2000 edition. But they meant the word as a compliment: “A typical Patagonia cover — exceptional!” raved one panelist. “An excellent selection of merchandise for an abbreviated holiday catalog, well presented in typical Patagonia style,” enthused another. “A typical Patagonia copy presentation, with just a touch of tongue in cheek to keep things lively,” praised a third judge.
Cataloger/retailer Patagonia markets rugged apparel for outdoor activities. How rugged? Take a look at the front cover: a lone skier gliding on sailcloth wings against the clouds, through which juts a jagged snow-covered mountain. The startling image demands a double-take even as it lets viewers know that Patagonia can handle the elements with the toughest of outdoorsmen.
The first inside spread doesn’t sell product. Instead, it sells the brand. The copy explains that this catalog is a collection of favorite products, many of which have been refined over the years thanks to feedback from “customers, product testers, employees, and our environment.”
Indeed, Patagonia promotes its appreciation of the environment as clearly as it markets its products. On the same spread, the copy notes that the company “pledges at least 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.” And the copy throughout the book returns repeatedly to issues of sustainability and preservation. For instance, in describing its cashmere sweaters, the copy says, “The production of our cashmere provides employment to the Tibetan people without causing environmental harm or reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations.”
But Patagonia doesn’t neglect to sell the merchandise. The Men’s Escape Jacket is described as “the Zen of coats — simple, unpretentious, competent. The Escape is an all-purpose insulated jacket (1/8″ EcoSpun post-consumer recycled polyester pile warms the torso; quilted 2.4-oz. insulation lines the sleeves); its 5.8-oz. nylon duck shell is treated with a durable water repellent finish….” Then there are the photos, many of them sent in by customers, showing the apparel in use: worn by climbers atop a church steeple in France, by a hiker in the Yukon, by snowboarders in Montana…
So why didn’t the catalog win a Gold Award? Several panelists noted that the back cover displays too much white space, thereby wasting some valuable real estate. One judge found some of the type, especially in the opening spread, hard to read. And while the catalog does sell reusable fabric gift bags (“made from Patagonia fabric overages”), at least one judge felt that gift wrapping would have been appropriate, given that this is a holiday catalog.
Those quibbles aside, the judges felt this edition was a sterling example of the best the industry has to offer. “Patagonia remains true to its core customer and core values,” summed up one panelist. “The company brings the challenges and concerns related to the outdoors down to the individual level.”
259 West Santa Clara St.
Ventura, CA 93001
Year founded: 1973
Catalog founded: 1982
Director: Carrie Randolph
Designers: Hal Arneson, Lisa Quon
Production manager: C.J. Oliverson
Merchandiser: Kevin Churchill
Copywriter: Michelle Bianchi
Photographer: Scott Wikon
Marketing manager: Ken Storey
Printer: Arandell Corp.
Color separator: International Color Services
List broker/manager: Advanced Concept Management
Cover paper: 70 lb.
Text paper: 50 lb.
Number of pages: 44
Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 10-7/8″