Patagonia’s Winter Catalog Makes Smooth Branding

“The brand is a powerful thing when it is translated so completely into catalog creative and production,” according to one MCM Awards judge. The judge was referring to Patagonia’s Winter 2009 edition, which captured a Silver in the Sporting Goods/Hobbies category.

Why it won a Silver:
When it comes to the catalog cover, one judge said, “as always, Patagonia grabs your attention with ‘man against nature’ imagery, which spells out the physical challenge of the sport.”

The cover shot of a lone skier in, according to the caption, “a moment of clarity amongst the Hokkaido hardwoods” in Japan’s Biseko backcountry, is big on drama. “The love of the sport compels the viewer to look inside for more,” the judge said.

Once inside, a winter sports fan isn’t going to be disappointed. The catalog is full of functional, attractive, technical apparel that’s designed to look good and take a beating,” said one panelist. From parkas and powder pants to fleece, fleece and more fleece, Patagonia has you covered to take on the harshest of elements.

The book is easy to shop from as well, with descriptive copy that speaks to customers in their own language. “Patagonia does a great job of relating the copy to the activities these customers partake in,” a judge commented.

Overall, Patagonia knows how to use editorial to strengthen its brand, a panelist said. “Branding doesn’t always have to be about product; it can be about lifestyle and providing the aspiration to live that lifestyle.”

Why it didn’t win a Gold:
A few bothersome errors on the design and production front brought down Patagonia’s scores just a bit. Some of the darker garments are underlit, “masking the detail you want to see,” complained one judge. The type is also a point size too small, and when used, the models are decapitated. “I hate that,” noted one panelist.

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