opinion & response

May 01, 2002 9:30 PM  By

Rightfully Riled About Wrong Number

As I discussed with Paul Miller, who wrote your article “Bass Pro Focuses on Its Channels” (March 1 issue), the sales figure attributed to Bass Pro Shops is not correct. We are a privately owned company and do not share our sales or other results with anyone outside of our organization.
Ronald L. Ramseyer
president of direct marketing, Bass Pro Shops

Half the Magazine We Used to Be?

I received my March 15 Catalog Age magazine today. Since I am in the catalog business and work closely with printers, I thought I would share this with you. My copy of the magazine measures 8-3/8″ wide by 14-3/8″ high [instead of 11" × 14"]. Obviously this is a poor trim job. I don’t think there is one article you could read in its entirety.
Maggie McCarthy
marketing director, Swanson Health Products

Cartoon Cat Becomes Web Cop

Would you allow Garfield to monitor what your kids are doing on the Internet? The creators of kid-friendly Web browser Garfield Island are betting that you would. In collaboration with Jim Davis, the creator of the curmudgeonly cartoon cat, Golden, CO-based Children’s Technology Group created the Web browser, which allows kids to surf only approved sites. Parents must pay a quarterly subscription (which comes out to about $5 a month) for Garfield Island or a discounted annual subscription rate of $49.95 a year. We’re all for protecting kids from the evils lurking online, but we’re a bit surprised that Garfield is the poster cat for Web safety: We didn’t think the facetious feline much liked kids anyway.

E-Dreams Were Made of These

By now the story of the dot-com boom gone bust is an old tale, but it’s fodder for a recent documentary titled E-Dreams. The 93-minute film by Wonsuk Chin chronicles the rise and fall of Kozmo.com, which launched in 1998 as an online video store. At its height in summer 2000, New York-based Kozmo had expanded into a convenience-store delivery service, employing more than 3,000 people and partnered with such giants as Starbucks. In late February 2001, the company announced plans to drop the “.com” from its name and launch a print catalog; two months later it shut its cyberdoors instead. While we admit we haven’t seen the flick, favorable reviews indicate that E-Dreams does a good job of capturing the thrill of Web victory and the agony of dot-com defeat. Pass the popcorn.

Color Us Baffled

Everybody likes to make fun of color descriptions in catalogs, though we personally have nothing against names such as pond-scum green and overripe pomegranate. Maybe the Color Marketing Group (CMG) is to blame for the poetic license some catalogers take with naming colors. According to the Alexandria, VA-based design/marketing/manufacturing association’s latest color forecast, the top hues for 2004 will be tickle red, moondance white, hope blue, and glassy green. If these descriptions leave you in need of clarification, consider this: CMG predicts that the 2004 color palette “will continue to be dominated by blues and greens with a resurgence of feminine reds and the palest tinted whites.” Why? Global turmoil is driving the consumer to “hive,” marking “a return to yesteryear’s sense of community, culture, and safety.” We’re not sure how slipcovering the sofa in tickle red is going to help us hive, but we’ll give it a whirl.

Double for Nothing

When perusing women’s athletic apparel catalog Title Nine Sports recently, we came across a $42 T-shirt. That seemed a high price to us, and sure enough, the copy block for the Sugar Tee begins “$42 for a tee shirt? Well, we said the same thing…” The copy goes on to describe the shirt’s Flexcel fabric (with a touch of Lycra), which “has a silk feel to it, but then it’s super-dense like cotton.” Sounds nice, but we’re still not ready to shell out $42 for a T-shirt. Until we get to the real sales kicker: “If you’re like us, once you try this tee on, you’ll want at least two. When that happens, just call us up and order the second and the shipping will be on us. Yep, this tee is really that good.” Here’s to Title Nine: If the Sugar Tee is half as good as the offer, we’ll take two now and save you the trouble.

Gaiam in the Bag on Oscar Night

Forget about the gold-plated statuette: The real prize on Oscar night is the gift basket. Valued at $20,000, the booty bag was awarded to 125 presenters and performers at the Academy Awards held March 24. The gift bags included 40 products from suppliers such as Baccarat, Mont Blanc, Birkenstock, and Gaiam. That’s right, the healthy-lifestyle products cataloger got in on the action, providing certificates for its $350 meditation chair. We hope that the Oscar affiliation paid off for Gaiam, but considering that the Academy reportedly told donors to keep a lid on their involvement to downplay the decadence this year, the timing may not have been ideal. At any rate, we’re sure the stars are enjoying the chairs. Perhaps they’re using them to meditate over their outfits for next year’s Oscars.

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