Gold Award, Consumer Specialty: Orvis, The Dog Book, Holiday 2002

“If you love dogs, you are going to open this book,” said one judge. And if you don’t love dogs, but you know someone who does, “you will keep this and pass it along,” the judge continued. In that sense, the cover of the Dog Book — featuring eight Labrador puppies eating supper out of eight bowls set on the grass — looks like a win-win for Orvis. The entire catalog is in fact a winner, taking the Gold Award in the Consumer Specialty category.

The Dog Book, a spin-off that the outdoor apparel and home decor cataloger launched two years ago, sells items for dogs such as beds and jackets, as well as decorative accessories and apparel adorned with dogs for their doting owners. The catalog boasts a consistent focus on the target market of dog lovers, noted one judge. It carries “an exceptional level of focused products — unique and well priced,” added another.

It doesn’t hurt that the Dog Book is incredibly “easy on the eyes,” said one judge. “Orvis seems to be one of the few direct marketers able to resist the temptation to overengineer the layout, and yet there is enough variety to be interesting. There is just the right balance between copy, photography, and white space.” Another panelist praised the catalog’s fabulous photography of products in use, with cute and appealing animal “props.”

Orvis most definitely speaks the language of The Dog Book’s audience (which is “dogese,” according to one judge). Copy covers both the owner’s and the pet’s needs, and has good rhythm and flow, said one judge: “It repeatedly addresses customers’ conerns and desires for their pets.” Indeed, benefits are clearly stated, said another panelist, “and they make the products sound fun and inviting.” The catalog’s copywriter should be proud, the judge said, “because he hit exactly the right note” without going over the top with a “cutesy-poo” tone.

The Dog Book makes “terrific” use of editorial sidebars such as “Rescue Dogs Never Abandon a Search,” and “Remembering Maggie,” copy that “brings tears to one’s eyes,” noted one panelist. Added another: “The editorial places dogs on a pedestal in a fun, sometimes touching way.” And in many cases, such as the small boxed item “How Orvis Collared the Dog’s Nest,” the editorial helps sell product, since it provides “good background information on product development and adds credibility and creates interest,” observed a third judge.

Orvis also puts on the dog when it comes to customer service, with the guarantee appearing on every spread and featured on the order form. “You get the feeling that this is a company that will take care of you,” said one judge. Is there anything that The Dog Book deosn’t do well? Doggonit, no!

The Orvis Co.
Historic Route 7A
Manchester, VT 05254

Company founded: 1856
Merchandise director: Kathy Gauthier
Art director: Danine Warren
Product manager: Victoria Woodruff
Copywriter: Tom Murray
Photography coordinator: Russ Warren
Marketing manager: Jon Mori
Acquisition manager: Lori Vilbrin
Marketing director: Eric Johnson
Production director: Meg Cassin
Advertising director: Bill Eyre
Photographer: Dennis Welsh
Prepress provider/color separator/printer: Quad/Graphics
List manager: Millard Group
List brokers: Millard Group, 21st Century Marketing
Cover paper: 60 lb. #3
Text paper: 40 lb. #5 (Stora Enso)
Trim size: 7-15/16″ × 10-1/2″
Number of pages: 52

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