International Consumer, Silver Award: Orvis, Women’s Clothing & Gifts, Autumn 2000 (U.K.)

Orvis, a 145-year-old catalog institution in the U.S., is apparently making a splash in the United Kingdom as well. The Autumn 2000 edition of its Women’s Clothing & Gifts catalog, like the Summer 2000 edition, won a Silver Award this year.

Starting up front, the cover photo of an attractive woman bundled in an American West-inspired wool blanket coat is “very warm and appealing,” said one judge. Another panelist appreciated the appeal of the cover shot but said it lacked a “strong call to action.” Also, the typeface of the company’s URL and the “America’s Country Traditions” tagline is too small, the judge said, “and they should have put the phone number on the cover as well.” But listing the U.K. store locations on the back cover is a smart move, the judges agreed.

Overall, the panelists admired the catalog’s layout and design. “It’s a nice clean format, not too cluttered,” said one. And the texture and detail of the product shots received an “excellent” rating from several judges. “There’s a good mix of product lay-downs and on-figure shots on every spread,” noted one judge. But on some spreads, the eyeflow is choppy, said a judge, who added, “Products shot on different locations are being put together on several spreads.” And several panelists pointed out that the models used seem too young to appeal to the catalog’s target market of mature women.

Product copy is fairly basic, but it works. The description for a women’s silk-and-cashmere pullover begins: “Two of the world’s most precious fibers blended together create a sweater that’s so incredibly soft and light you can wear it across seasons.…” While Orvis does not use headlines much in this catalog, those employed are effective. For example, a heading for mix-and-match knits proclaims “Rib-knit basics: easy to wear, easy to pair.” The institutional copy, a letter from Orvis president Perk Perkins, is “excellent — a best practice!” enthused one panelist. By detailing the catalog’s “best guarantee in the world,” its commitment to quality and customer service, the letter “highlights what the company is all about,” the judge said.

The judges were also impressed with Orvis’s size-conversion chart — a must for a U.S. mailer selling American sizes overseas. Although the chart for women’s regular and petite sizes appears in three places in the book, one judge suggested that Orvis include the table throughout the catalog.

Overall, the Autumn 2000 edition of Orvis’s U.K. women’s catalog “presents a warm rich feeling,” according to one judge. While this may be an old New England catalog, Orvis is no doubt picking of legions of new fans in the old England.

The Orvis Co.
Historic Route 7A
Manchester, VT 05254
Company founded: 1856
Catalog launched: 1983
Director/merchandiser: Kathy Gauthier
Designer/production manager:
Tracey St. John
Marketing manager: Chris Wheatley
Printer: Polestar
Color separator: Quadichrome S.A.S.
List brokers/managers: HLB, Mokrynski & Associates
Cover paper: 80 GSM
Text paper: 60 GSM
Number of pages: 56
Trim size: 8″ × 10-1/2″

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