“How cute!” exclaimed a judge upon seeing the snow-speckled black Lab puppy on the cover of Orvis’s fall Sporting Tradition catalog. The cover is compelling and inviting, and “it uses the key element in hunting – the dog.” Judges were also touched by the more subtle imagery. The puppy is tucked inside the hunter’s camouflage jacket, which could be a metaphor for a hunter’s strength while also hinting at a deep tenderness, according to one judge, who added, “It definitely speaks to its target audience of men.”
The Gold Award winner’s merchandising is top-notch, the panelists agreed. “It offers clothing, accessories, and the whole sporting experience,” said one judge. From compasses and clothing to fishing reels and shotguns, Orvis makes sure no sportsman is without his gear. The catalog even sells cigars!
The catalog also “really speaks to its buyers,” said a judge, with narrative copy and essays on sporting experiences, responsible hunting, and environmental preservation. In an essay entitled “The Flyway,” one hunter writes about “calling” to his prey: “…I watched three blacks jet mile-high over our blind as if they had a business meeting in Chicago.” And the environmental focus pleased many judges. “The notion of preserving the environment and giving back to the earth and society is profound,” as well as quite appropriate for Orvis’s target market of upscale sportsmen, praised one panelist. What’s more, the book’s guide to hunting trips reaffirms its authority on the sporting life. “And the president’s letter alludes to the escapism of being out in the wild,” noted a judge, making it clear that the president, like his audience, is a true outdoorsman.
But customers need not go further than the Orvis catalog itself for a great escape. The “simply stunning” photography draws the reader into the page. “It’s almost three-dimensional,” said one judge. And the layout is “brimming with product, but not overdone,” noted another. The book’s copy and product shots are nicely balanced throughout.
Orvis pleased the judges on the customer service front too, with its comprehensive service policies, such as 100% satisfaction guarantee, its toll-free fishing and hunting line, and a return and repair information hotline for fishing rods and reels. The clean order form and the clearly stated 800-number and Website address also earned high marks from the panel. “Service, service, service!” happily exclaimed one judge. “At Orvis, the customer clearly comes first.”