Jackson & Perkins, Roses ’98

Sep 01, 1998 9:30 PM  By

In 1997, after years of selling its award-winning roses directly to consumers, Jackson & Perkins launched a wholesale catalog. And as this Silver Award-winning 1998 edition of the wholesale book shows, Jackson & Perkins easily carried over the strengths of its consumer book-luscious photography, detailed copy-to its business-to-business catalog counterpart.

One judge waxes lyrical even before opening the catalog: “The cover instantly conveys a sense of quality and timelessness. The subtle color of the rose against the sepia-washed background hints at great treasures inside.”

And what one finds inside is a well-organized bouquet. The opening spread features a table of contents that not only helps buyers navigate but also underscores the breadth of merchandise-exclusives, best sellers, grandifloras, patented floribundas, hedge roses, groundcover roses, climbing miniature roses…. “The merchandise certainly supports the idea that Jackson & Perkins is a specialist in roses,” says one panelist.

The copy supports this idea as well. The spread entitled “Landscaping with Roses” virtually spells out sales pitches that greenhouse staff can use on their customers: Shrub roses “bloom freely all season, with very little maintenance…so versatile, there is a shrub for any landscaping application”; English roses “are designed to be massed together-in a cottage garden, or near living areas where their fragrance can truly be appreciated.” Deeper into the book, copy blocks detailing the specifications of each variety accompany the photos. As a judge notes, “Retail distributors can use the catalog as a tool to answer consumers’ questions and ultimately do a better job of presenting the product.”

A few of the judges quibble about how well the product is presented, however. “Random grid use for the photography fragments the copy-art relationship and makes it hard to follow,” says one. The panelists also have reservations about several aspects of customer service. Ordering information is limited to the enclosed price sheets, points out one judge, and another feels the service information should be played up, rather than printed only in the back of the book. But “showing photos of the service and sales reps is a nice, personal touch,” one panelist notes, and all of the judges appreciate the spread of merchandising and point-of-purchase collateral materials.

And the completeness of the catalog as a resource for roses all but overrides any criticisms. One judge speaks for the entire panel in declaring, “Jackson & Perkins has done a beautiful job selling the product. I can’t imagine anyone else carrying a fuller line.”