McFeely’s Square Drive Screws, 97D

Sep 01, 1998 9:30 PM  By

You’d think just the name “McFeely’s Square Drive Screws” would be enough to get attention, but this Silver Award-winning catalog’s whimsical illustrated cover also differentiates it from other offerings. The cover drawing, showing a comical (his tongue is sticking out), bearded woodworker building a wooden train with square drive screws, is an unexpected approach from a hardware cataloger, and it’s bound to tempt a recipient to look inside the book. At the same time that it amuses, however, the catalog’s illustration delivers a message that McFeely’s audience of woodworkers can relate to. “The cartoon character illustrates a love of detail and shows accomplishment,” one judge comments.

Inside, McFeely’s impressed the judges with its extensive product line. “Lots of really good items,” one says. “Though I am not a woodworker, I found a product I could use!” exclaims another. “The merchandising is more complete than I could have ever imagined possible,” raves a third. Indeed, the name of this catalog, as arresting as it is, is also misleading. McFeely’s Square Drive Screws sells a lot more than…well, screws. Calipers, clamps, washers, nuts, screwdrivers, glue bottles, scrapers, sanding disks, organizers, router accessories, measuring tapes, saw blades-you name the woodworking accessory, and it’s in this book. And though overwhelming in number, products are surprisingly easy to find: The catalog is divided into product sections, and there’s a handy table of contents on page 2.

Copy, too, receives high marks from the judges. One panelist feels the product copy is a great combination of “real authority and an ‘aw shucks’ local hardware store attitude,” such as in this description of a brush-tip glue bottle: “I’ve tried applying glue with popsickle sticks, little slivers of wood left over from my last project, cheap glue brushes, my fingers (the usual way), and virtually every applicator tool known to mankind. Finally, I have found one that really works.” Many of the product descriptions are also educational, the panelists note-which should help novice woodworkers use this catalog more effectively.

There is some disagreement about McFeely’s design and production, however. Several judges don’t like the use of tint blocks and wood-grain backgrounds and borders. “They make the spreads even more busy, and less readable,” one judge says. But another judge rushes to McFeely’s defense, saying that overall, the catalog is “a great presentation of hard-to-display products.” And in the end, all the judges arrive at the same conclusion: McFeely’s is a standout Silver Award winner.