Sporting Goods, Silver Award: Northwest River Supplies, Paddlesports Equipment Guide, Spring 2000

The judges loved the cover of the Silver Award-winning Northwest River Supplies’ Paddlesports Equipment Guide. The shot of a sportsman in an electric-green kayak braving the rapids exudes excitement and “sets clear expectations for what is inside,” said one panelist. But for readers not familiar with NRS, the judges felt that the front cover should have included the company’s 800-number and Website address. Also, several panelists thought the back cover, which displays customer testimonials, should have been used to sell product.

The inside front cover does explain what the company is — a manufacturer/marketer of apparel and equipment for kayaking, canoeing, and other paddlesports — along with ordering and customer service information. One judge said that introducing the company and its employees up front establishes NRS’s expertise in paddlesports.

The impressive selection of merchandise ranges from boats and waterproof garb to ropes and river knives. The table of contents on page 3 shows that the product assortment and pagination were well thought out, said a judge.

The photos of people using the products are a great promotional tool, noted another panelist. The only problem is that some of the photos are dark, and in some spots copy superimposed against the art gets lost.

And that’s too bad, because the copy provides many product benefits that educate readers on all the features of the apparel and gear. Other editorial, such as a grid comparing various medical kits and a helmut sizing guide, help simplify shopping. But at least one panelist felt the catalog lacked benefit-oriented headlines.

Several judges said that NRS’s customer service and ordering procedures could have used a little TLC as well. One panelist mentioned that the information about policies is limited; another said that no guarantee or return policy could be found on the order form; and a third judge said that the customer service number needs to be promoted more on the order form. On the plus side, they agreed that the order form is easy to use.

The judging panel also agreed that the book has a tight marketing focus and sticks to its overall mission of being a comprehensive resource for paddlesports gear. “The catalog builds excitement for the sport and for NRS,” said one judge. Added another panelist: “The catalog delivers on its promise of finding everything a paddler would need — all in one location.”

Northwest River Supplies
2009 S. Main St.
Moscow, ID 83843
Company founded: 1972
Catalog launched: 1973
Directors: Mike Hood, John Bales
Designer: Mike Hood
Production manager/marketing manager: John Bales
Merchandiser: Bryan Dingel
Copywriters: Bill Parks, Donna Holmes-Parks
Photographers: Mike Hood, Mark Lamoreaux
Printer/color separator:
Quad/Graphics List broker/manager: Chilcutt
Cover paper: 70 ib.
Text paper: 45 lb.
Number of pages: 108
Trim size: 8″ × 10-1/2″

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