New Consumer Catalog, Silver Award: Crossing Pointe, Holiday 2000

When you’ve been around as long as general merchandise mailer Blair Corp. — 91 years — trying something different, such as a targeting a younger, more upmarket audience, can be daunting. But this Silver Award-winning edition of the Crossing Pointe catalog proves that taking a risk can pay off handsomely.

Crossing Pointe’s merchandising is far more upscale than Blair’s traditional offerings of lower-ticket wash-and-wear apparel and home goods for mature consumers. For instance, the cover depicts an attractive woman clad in a shimmery copper-colored sweater set with a matching taffeta skirt. She is sitting on a marble staircase with an elegant wrought-iron bannister. “It truly looks classy,” said one impressed judge.

At the same time, Blair hasn’t abandoned its position as a value cataloger. Crossing Pointe is chock-full of “great-looking stuff at fantastic bargains,” a judge noted. The catalog offers “seemingly good-quality items at very reasonable prices — creating a great value impression,” another judge added. One criticism, however: The merchandise categories aren’t as strongly or clearly differentiated as one of the panelists would have liked.

The workmanlike copy avoids overstatement, according to one panelist, “and it feels right for the target audience of baby-boomer women.” But another judge thought the copy could be more exciting and compelling. “Some benefit heads would help,” the judge said. “And I saw the phrase ‘classic details’ used in two consecutive sentences.” Another panelist agreed: “I’m surprised the copy isn’t a bit more romantic or aspirational — this could be an opportunity for the cataloger.”

The design could provide another opportunity for improvement. “The inconsistent grid and a multitude of photo sizes make the spreads too busy and unfocused,” said one judge. But while a few photos are dark and somewhat muddy, the images in general are crisp and clear, the judge added. As for the paper choices (a 60.-lb. stock for the cover and 40-lb. stock for the inside pages), the panelist noted: “Neither lighter nor heavier stock would be better — the paper seems just about right.”

Regarding customer service and ordering, Crossing Pointe boasts an impressive array of services, from installment financing and preapproved credit to free delivery and returns on the first order (also promoted on the cover with a dot whack). The catalog also features a great fitting chart, said one panelist.

Overall, Crossing Pointe does a superb job of credibly conveying quality for value, and this is an outstanding first effort. The combination of attractive merchandise presented in an upscale manner and the low prices “will make this catalog appeal to all but the most snobby woman,” a judge summed up.

Crossing Pointe
Blair Corp.
220 Hickory St.
Warren, PA 16366
Company founded: 1910
Catalog launched: 2000
Director: Mary Wilson
Merchandiser: Kathy Parigian
Photographer: Tim Gainey
Marketing manager: Gary Q. Smith
Designer: Marke Communications
Printer: Quebecor World
Color separator: Color Control
List brokers: RMP, Millard Group
List manager: RMP
Cover paper: 60 lb.
Text paper: 40 lb.
Number of pages: 68
Trim size: 7-1/2″ × 10-1/2

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