International B-to-B, Gold Award: IBM’s VSB Catalog, Autumn 2000 (Spain)

Outstanding copy is essential when selling computers and accessories to businesses. The clear, concise, and detailed copy of IBM’s VSB catalog for Spain is just one reason the catalog won a Gold Award. “When companies based in the U.S. take product lines overseas, they are often not careful enough about presenting copy in an appropriate manner. That was not the case here. The copy is not merely translated but is shaped to fit the nuances of the Spanish speakers from Spain,” said one judge.

This specialized catalog targeting the small office/home office (SOHO) market plays up IBM’s key products, such as the ThinkPad and Intellistation, and really makes the corporate brand work to its advantage. “The primarily black-and-white catalog highlights brand-enhancing product categories in bright colors such as reds, greens, and blues,” noted a judge.

Still, in keeping with the visual theme of simplicity, the book doesn’t overuse color. “This catalog really makes good use of clean lines,” praised a judge. Another panelist approvingly described the catalog design as “very modern and pared down.” The product photography is exceptional, the judge added, and the cover shot has a great three-dimensional quality that really makes it stand out.

Although the merchandise assortment is limited, at least one judge considered that an asset: “The catalog is a targeted mailing to SOHOs, so offering three or four different solutions in each category is exactly right. Any more options and it would feel like a general computer cataloger.”

If the targeted offering doesn’t make businesses feel catered to, the customer service surely will. “There is no hiding the IBM service and support in this book,” enthused a judge. In fact, on the inside cover, a table of contents and introductory copy blocks introduce the customer to the catalog and the various computer solutions. The copy reinforces the notion that the relationship between the customer and IBM doesn’t end with the purchase. This company stands behind its products and will assist customers if they need help — via telephone or the Web, whichever is their preference.

It is no wonder that this book garnered such high praise — and high scores. It excels in each area that a catalog campaign should, from creative and marketing to merchandising and service.

IBM’s VSB Catalog
IBM Corp.
Route 100
Somers, NY 10589
Company founded: 1911
Catalog founded: 2000
Directors: Carmen Talens (Spain);
Victoria Azarian, Chris Formisano (U.S.)
Account executives: Anabel Varela
(Spain), Audrey Moore (U.S.)
Production managers: Nuria Mazario
(Spain), Jay Orenstein (U.S.)
Copywriters: Alvaro Merino (Spain),
Kim Morton (U.S.)
Photographer: Kutlu Ertan
Marketing managers: Fernando Velaz
de Medrano, Carlos Parras
Printer: Gruppo Toppla/ADS Printing
Color separator: Fotomecanica
Cover/text paper: 135 GSM
Number of pages: 8
Trim size: 11-1/2″ × 8-1/4″

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