Harry and David, Christmas 1999

“This is not a catalog to review while hungry,” cautioned one judge. “The dew glistens on the fruit, and the aromas of the meats all but waft from the pages.” Indeed, it’s almost impossible to pick up Harry and David’s Christmas 1999 edition and not be awed – and made peckish by – the stunning food photography.

But Harry and David is more than a pretty face. After all, photography alone is not enough to enable a cataloger to “sell something for $5 that can be purchased locally for 75 cents,” a judge said. “What Harry and David does is make its products easy for the customer to buy and exciting to receive.”

Take a look at the order form. It explains the multitude of ordering options (phone, fax, mail, Web, TDD) with a reminder that “We’re here 24 hours a day, every day.” The order form also spells out the delivery options, including overnight express, and the reservation gift service, in which the cataloger will “hold your orders and ship them to arrive by the date you request. You can shop for the whole year with one easy order!” And the 800-number appears on every spread, often accompanied by a picture of a pear in a Santa hat, which cleverly reinforces the brand image.

As for the excitement of receiving the products, try not to salivate while reading this description of Christmas Tree Shortbreads: “To get cookies this tender and tasty, you have to bake them yourself. And that’s exactly what we do here in our bakery. First we spread one of our private-recipe shortbread cookies with a seedless raspberry filling. Then comes another cookie on top….nestled in a fancy new gift tin, they’re the perfect holiday treat with a cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold milk.” Are you racing to your kitchen (or your telephone) yet?

While Harry and David is best known for its Fruit-of-the-Month Club and its Royal Riviera pears, the word “new” in red letters flags more than 50 new items – proof that the company refuses to rest on its laurels. “This catalog sells fruit, nuts, meat, baskets, plants, flowers, etc.,” enthused a judge. “Until you page through the book, you have no idea how extensive the range is.”

From its trademarked Towers of Treats to its holiday flowers and wreaths, from its well-explained customer service niceties to its seductive photography and copy, Harry and David has everything a Gold Award winner should have. Now if you’ll excuse us, we simply must grab a snack.

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