Hanna Andersson, Holiday 1997

Sep 01, 1998 9:30 PM  By

A striking cover, a highly developed merchandise line, an enviable ability to stay true to its mission and positioning, and a complete offering of impressive customer service policies combine to put Hanna Andersson’s children’s clothing catalog in the winner’s circle this year.

This holiday edition, the judges agree, continues the Hanna Andersson tradition of unique positioning in a crowded, me-too children’s market. “The catalog and the product line are distinctive-no one can duplicate them without risk of being labeled an imitator,” says one panelist.

The all-red cover, picturing a little girl dressed in holiday finery, is a winner according to most of the judges, who are completely charmed by the model’s sweet expression. “I love it; her eyes pop, and she looks very appealing and warm,” says one. Another, however, has mixed feelings about “all the red,” believing it actually detracts from the imagery.

Catalog copy is high caliber, panelists note, combining benefits and product-specific subheads with a chatty tone that would appeal to most parents. Hanna Andersson even manages to throw in some romance: “Behind the brilliant-hued blossoms that meander on its soft surface, you’ll find a dress with a lot of gumption to keep up with girls on the go,” says the description for the Country Walk Dress. Overall, however, benefits rule in product descriptions, judges say, such as this copy for a tunic top: “This terrific hefty-weight cotton has a fluffy brushed back and a soft, nubby-textured ‘mesh’ surface-in other words, the warm and cozy feeling of a sweatshirt.”

And then there are Hanna Andersson’s array of customer services, including express delivery, gift certificates, gift wrapping, the now-famous Hannadowns program that allows purchasers to receive a 20% credit on new items for returning outgrown Hanna Andersson clothing, and an unconditional guarantee on all purchases. Plus, one judge says, “I love the 800-number listed on every spread; you get the impression that these people are really going to take good care of you.”

There is some debate about the catalog’s design and production, however. The type size should have been bigger, one judge asserts, and another feels that many of the product shots look fake and overpropped. And still another notes that the print borders on many of the pages are “just too intense and make no sense.”

Still, the consensus is that Hanna Andersson continues to dominate its category with a distinctive, quality product line and incomparable service.