Sporting Goods/Hobbies

GOLD: Print Channel

The Orvis Co., The Hunting Book, Fall 2009

It’s clear from the start what Orvis’ mission is with The Hunting Book catalog title: comfort and enjoyment of the hunt. What’s more, the opening statement describing the company’s conservation efforts further reinforces its commitment to the hunting lifestyle.

WHY IT WON A GOLD AWARD: The catalog’s design and production drew rave reviews. “Superb photography and styling that shows the product well, rich in texture and details,” commented one judge. “Layouts are clean and flow easily.”

Then there’s the copy, which “speaks directly to the needs and demands of the hunter,” a panelist said. Headlines such as “Stay cool on warm hunts in our best-selling hunting shirt” make it clear that Orvis knows hunting.

Speaking of the products, Orvis hits a home run on that front as well. The merchandise assortment services all the needs of the hunter, said one judge, “especially one who travels to his hunting destination.”

IDEAL TO STEAL: When you stay true to your mission, you can carefully introduce related products and services, such as Orvis-endorsed Wingshooting Destinations. The hunting lodges are a natural tie-in with Orvis, but if not done properly, the section could have cheapened the book, said one judge. “Orvis handled that well.” — MD

SILVER: Print Channel

Patagonia, Winter 2009

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.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: 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.

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,” said one judge. The type is also a point size too small; and when used, models are decapitated. “I hate that,” noted one panelist. — MD

SILVER: Web Channel

PerformanceBike.com

A common comment by the 2010 MCM Awards judges was that many multichannel retailers seemed to be using their e-commerce sites as an order form for their catalog. But that’s not the case with Performance Bicycle.

WHY IT WON A SILVER AWARD: “Performance Bicycle is doing a fantastic job with cross-selling,” a judge said. “They understand their merchandise and their customer well.” Stock levels are clearly communicated, and the ship-to-store option is terrific.

Shoppers on the Performance Bicycle site can find relevant and logical cross-sells on product pages.

For example, a browser looking for a bike rack will find “you might also like” suggestions of accessories for that particular rack, not a bike to go with that rack or suggestions of a different bike rack altogether.

WHY IT DIDN’T WIN A GOLD: The home page came across as “overwhelming” to some judges. “On the day I reviewed, there were over 10 different promotions on the page,” said one panelist. “They might benefit from a more focused approach.” — TP

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