A safari to Africa, or at the very least, to the jungle of men’s casualwear, is the theme of the summer 2002 edition of Orvis’s Destinations catalog — as is apparent from the attention-grabbing front cover. Thanks to the vivid cover photo of a safari truck driving alongside a herd of animals, “anyone who has entertained the idea of a trip to Africa will open this book,” enthused a judge.
Inside, the merchandising continues with the theme. “The product selection carries forward the catalog position; the products feel alive with a spirit of adventure,” a panelist said. Even the names of the merchandise exude adventure: the Chantecleer Island Hat, the Indian River Sportcoat, the Gold Coast Pants, the Mephisto Deck Shoes.
Supporting the merchandise is “no-nonsense copy that gets straight to the facts about each product’s features,” said a judge. The panelists agreed that the easy-to-read descriptions perfectly suit the busy, upscale men who are the catalog’s target market. “They don’t want to wade through wordy, quasi-poetic descriptions just to figure out which sport shirt they want to order,” noted a judge.
Which is not to say that the copy is devoid of romance. Take this description of the Turneffe Flats Shirt: “After you’ve unloaded the flats boat, slip into this shirt for an evening of relaxing at the lodge. Crafted from a silky-smooth cotton poplin for easy tropical comfort. Works well with chinos and summer shorts.” Clearly Orvis is trying to tap into its customers’ fantasies of a life away from the rat race — a task at which the company excels.
The visuals speak to the same fantasy. Page 9 is a prime example; four product closeups are displayed beneath a photo of a riverside thatched-roof hut. And the quality of the photography is stellar. As one judge said, “The great layouts make excellent use of eye-flow hot spots. Product shots bear plenty of detail. And the interspersed pictures and travelog fillers do not detract from products.”
Orvis doesn’t overlook customer service. One judge was particularly impressed by the “excellent size chart” that helps shoppers determine proper fit of garments. Another judge praised the wealth of information about the personalization services, which include embossing and watch engraving.
An exciting theme, consistent reliability in merchandising, and attentive service are just a few of the reasons this Orvis catalog took home a Gold. One judge summed up the feelings of the other panelists with this proclamation: “A great combination of lifestyle and product!”
The Orvis Co.
Historic Route 7A
Manchester, VT 05254
Company founded: 1856
Merchandise director: Mike Quartararo
Art director: Tim Achor-Hoch
Production manager: Greg Nesbit
Copywriter: Tom Murray
Photography coordinator: Tory Myler
Marketing manager: Mark Fagiano
Acquisition manager: Lori Vilbrin
Marketing director: Eric Johnson
Production director: Meg Cassin
Advertising director: Bill Eyre
Photographer: HO Photography
Prepress provider/color separator/printer: Quad/Graphics
List manager: Millard Group
List brokers: Millard Group, 21st Century Marketing
Cover paper: 55 lb. #3
Text paper: 34 lb. #3 (Stora Enso)
Trim size: 7-15/16″ × 10-1/2″
Number of pages: 76