Gold Award, Business Clothing: WearGuard, 2001 Volume 599

Who says work apparel can’t be sexy? Certainly not the folks at WearGuard. Of course, it helps that WearGuard sells rugged workwear, modeled by rugged-looking miners, mechanics, and carpenters. Moreover, the catalog’s product-in-use photos prompted one judge to describe the photography as “Patagonia style,” evoking the outdoor gear marketer’s action shots.

That’s not to say that WearGuard is all about the beefcake. The catalog works hard to get the order from the get-go, employing savvy marketing techniques. The front cover, for instance, depicts a hard-hatted construction worker modeling the catalog’s three-season jacket, alongside a promotion for a free jacket with purchases of $250 or more; it also has an offer for new customers to save up to 25% on selected items. “The model is active, not passive; the ‘free’ is predominant; and the copy block promotes special savings…all reasons to keep going,” a judge said.

Inside, readers will find bulleted reasons to buy from WearGuard on the opening spread. “There’s a clear investment on one of the highest-value real estate sections in the catalog to communicate the importance of customer service, customer satisfaction, and professional services,” a judge marveled. Based on the results, said another judge, the strategy “seems productive.”

Merchandise, which ranges from outerwear to polo shirts to caps, is available in a vast selection, with extended sizes and clothing for men and women. “The quality of the merchandise, and the callouts, the testimonials, and the photographs of the product in use all combine for an excellent merchandising strategy,” declared one panelist.

Indeed, said another judge, it’s not easy to describe one coat several ways. “But the headlines stand out, and the general descriptions about specific aspects of a product really nail it!” For example, a diagram on page 9 details an item’s four-layer technology and how the fabric provides cold-weather protection. Another bonus: the copy’s easy-to-read, larger-point font and a comfortable mix of serif and sans serif typefaces.

What most impressed judges about WearGuard is its use of all the basics of a solid consumer catalog in a pure b-to-b effort: not just the photos of handsome men in toolbelts, but also the marketing and promotional strategies the catalog wields so successfully. “Business buyers like a deal just like the rest of us — maybe even more,” said one judge. Another panelist agreed that there’s never a lull in communication between the catalog and the customer. “Every inch is selling the merchandise. Consistent messages reinforce the decision to buy the product, offering additional services and providing assistance.”

141 Longwater Dr.
Norwell, MA 02061

Company founded: 1952
Creative director: Randall Hicks
Art directors: Chris Green, Rick Morin
Production director: Craig Grab
Merchandiser: Dietmar Stapelfeld
Copywriters: Joe Calapai, Everett Spencer
Photographer: John Burke Photography
Marketing director: George Woodward
Printer: Quad/Graphics
Color separator: Color Associates
Cover paper: 50 lb.
Text paper: 38 lb.
Number of pages: 164
Trim size: 7-7/16″ × 10″

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