Gold Award, Sporting Goods: Orvis, The Sporting Tradition, Fall 2001

“One look at the photos in this catalog and you know what real hunters wear,” said a judge about Orvis’s Sporting Tradition catalog. The spectacular photography is just one indicator that Orvis knows its customers and how to meet their needs.

The scenic front cover, for instance, “makes me want to go outside,” said a panelist. The compelling photo of a hunter trudging across snow-covered grass with his pack of eager Brittany spaniels clearly outlines the catalog’s mission, as does the prominently displayed title, “The Sporting Tradition.”

At 180 pages, the edition is “not merely a catalog, but a wishbook,” said one judge. As such, merchandising is paramount. Within the catalog hunters of all levels can find the gear they need — from snakeproof boots to duck calls, from English shooting jackets to fly-fishing rods. An assortment of hunting trips are offered as well — a great way for Orvis to demonstrate the extent of its experience in the market. “Obviously a lot of time goes into product development,” praised a judge, “which is driven by an exhaustive knowledge of the sport and the needs associated with it.”

Amid so much merchandise, readers could easily become overwhelmed. Orvis heads off that possibility with its intuitive pagination. In fact, one judge felt that every cataloger could use this book as an example of how to paginate a catalog.

The creative won kudos as well. “Every aspect of the catalog’s design and production carries through the catalog’s mission,” said a judge. Outstanding photography enhances the copy even as it tells its own story, the judges agreed. “What I especially appreciate is the variety of product and lifestyle shots, creating a sell on both an emotional and a practical level,” added a panelist.

The product descriptions are “a textbook example” of catalog copy, both benefit-laden and entertaining, said one judge. “It’s comprehensive but not overdone,” said another. The editorial sidebars, such as “The Harris Tweed Act of 1933,” were also a hit with the panel.

So were Orvis’s customer service policies. The iron-clad guarantee is promoted prominently, as are other service niceties such as free hemming for pants and product personalization and engraving.

All said, The Sporting Tradition is a culmination of excellence in every facet of catalog marketing. One judge put it simply: “This catalog knows its mission and does not waver from it.”

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

Company founded: 1856
Catalog manager/merchandiser: Jim LePage
Art director: Tim Achor-Hoch
Production manager: Greg Nesbit
Copywriter: Ryan Shadrin
Photographer: Loretta Hamera (HO Photography)
Marketing directors: Eric Johnson, Mark Fagiano
Advertising director: Bill Eyre
Acquisition manager: Lori Vilbrin
Printer: Spencer Press
Color separator/prepress provider: Quadrichrome
List broker/manager: Millard Group
Cover paper: 100 lb.
Text paper: 34 lb.
Number of pages: 180
Trim size: 7-15/16″ × 10-1/2″

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