Gold Awards, Sporting Goods: Orvis,: The Sporting Tradition, Fall 2002

You know a catalog’s a winner when even people who don’t normally buy the merchandise it sells are interested in it.

That certainly was the case with the judges who reviewed Orvis’s fall 2002 Sporting Tradition catalog. “I’m not a target consumer for any of this merchandise,” said one panelist, “but even I was very impressed by it.”

The key to the catalog’s success, the judges agreed, is the all-encompassing focus on the lifestyle of the upscale outdoor-sports enthusiasts who make up the book’s audience. Orvis doesn’t sell just shooting shirts, camouflage waders, gun safes, fillet knives, and other requisites for hunters and fishers — although it does offer a broad assortment of such items. It also sells traditionally tailored sports coats, twill shirts, leather wallets, and other non-sports items that the catalog’s customers are certain to want and need when they’re not outdoors. “The catalog covers most everything you could need for a hunting/fishing trip — from the luggage to the pellet rifles and fly rods — but it doesn’t end there,” noted a judge. “The catalog also includes pages of ‘Orvis-endorsed’ lodges and accessories for your dog.”

The creative elements enhance the catalog’s lifestyle focus. In-use and lifestyle photos complement the wonderfully detailed product shots. “You can see the grain on the leather and the weave of the tweeds,” exclaimed a panelist. “And the outdoor hunting/fishing shots make for an appealing read.”

So does the copy. At the same time, though, it points out the very specific benefits of the products. Take this description of a cotton shirt: “Marquesas cotton poplin fabric is named for the breathtaking atoll of Key West where some of the best flats fishing in the world happens. The tight weave stays cool and comfortable in all conditions — even the wilting heat of a tropical mid-afternoon sun. A lightly brushed, pre-washed finish caresses your skin and looks great while keeping you cool and refreshed. Bi-swing back adds to your casting comfort…” Numbered call-outs highlight special features, and sidebars featuring recipes, tips, and the history of certain items reinforce Orvis’s longevity and credibility.

The unconditional guarantee also supports the company’s reputation as a purveyor of top-quality goods. The judges praised other service features as well, including personalization options and the ability to return items to Orvis stores.

All in all, said a judge, “The catalog is a total resource. If I buy into the lifestyle, I ‘need’ the things in this catalog.” And by packaging the lifestyle in such an alluring manner, Orvis is sure to encourage plenty of consumers to “buy” into it — and to buy its goods, of course.

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

Company founded: 1856
Merchandise director: Jim LePage
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
Photographers: Loretta Hammera, HO Photography, Mark Rockwood, Ben Williams
Prepress provider/color separator: Quadrichrome SAS
Printer: Spencer Press
List manager: Millard Group
List brokers: Millard Group, 21st Century Marketing
Cover paper: 100 lb. #3
Text paper: 34 lb. #3 (Stora Enso)
Trim size: 7-15/16″ × 10-1/2″
Number of pages: 180

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