opinion & response

Jul 01, 2002 9:30 PM  By

Sounding Off on Show Business

After last year’s Annual Catalog Conference (ACC), one marked with poor exhibit hall traffic, we polled our clients about how they would feel if we stopped exhibiting. We received unanimous approval from them not to exhibit. Next year offers an added element with which to contend: DM Days New York and the ACC in the same week.

June has become far too busy a planning month for many catalogers to be able to send the amount of staff to the ACC that they had in years past. Additionally, much of the information that is culled at the ACC is received too late to be fully employed for fall and holiday mailings. With the demise of the Spring DMA Show, conflicted scheduling with DM Days, and continued poor exhibit hall attendance, surely many mailers and list professionals alike would welcome a date change.

As we did last year with our booth poll, I informally polled clients and colleagues at this year’s ACC about how they would feel if the show were held in April — when mailers aren’t as busy and at a time when mailers could begin planning for crucial fall and holiday mailings well in advance of their current timetables. The suggestion of moving the date to April received overwhelming support.

The opportunity to receive recommendations and insights from colleagues and list professionals in meetings and during sessions well in advance of cut-off dates would surely benefit mailers and exhibitors alike. And perhaps additional time to plan for the most important mail dates of the year would help our industry in the form of better results, better-performing prospect lists, and, ultimately, larger house files.
Brian DeLaite vice president — list management
ALC of New York

Chefs Wear a New Hat: Catalog Model

Chicago-based cooking apparel cataloger Chefwear is serving up a tasty creative twist: using real chefs as models. A recent catalog boasts a host of South Florida-based chefs modeling the manufacturer/marketer’s jackets, pants, caps, and other professional accoutrements for the kitchen; another edition features model chefs from the Big Easy. We think it’s fitting in this era of reality TV that Chefwear is using the real deal to showcase its goods. Cindy Crawford, eat your heart out.

Dude, Check Out Dell’s New Product Line

If you’re a fan of Dell Computer Corp.’s slacker pitchman, Steven, and his trademark tagline, “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell,” you’re in luck. The Austin, TX-based company in May began marketing a line of Dude Gear products, such as Dude-branded T-shirts, caps, notebook backpacks, and CD cases, available online at www.dell4me.com/dudegear. Dell, admittedly out of its element, worked with merchandise agency Bensussen, Deutsch & Associates to design the products. We like Steven and all, but does Dell really need to be shilling such schlock? After all, the company’s revenue for the past four quarters totaled $31.2 billion.

Cutting-Edge Promotion

A Catalog Age staff member recently ordered two bathing suits from women’s apparel cataloger Boston Proper. When the package arrived, the staffer was surprised to find a twin pack of Bic’s new Softwin disposable razors designed for sensitive skin in the box with the order. For certain, swimsuits and shaving go together, and the staffer was delighted to receive a sample of the razor. Still, the experience was a little weird — considering there was no reference to the freebie on the shipping slip or anywhere in the box. The staffer was not sure at first if some catalog warehouse worker dropped the razors in the box by mistake — or as a not-so-subtle suggestion.

Silvo Home Cover Seeks Sleuths

We have to give Silvo Home credit. The home products cataloger tried to make its summer 2002 catalog cover fun and interactive by asking, “How many Silvo items can you find?” The answer on page three of the book includes a color-coded map with the Silvo products — and their item numbers — listed. Our only quibble with this concept is that it’s not a very challenging task, considering that all the products on the cover are Silvo’s — except the clothes on the model’s back. And actually, we were somewhat disappointed to find that the straw sun hat on the model was not a Silvo item.

Are Prison Inmates Allowed Lipstick?

Many have said that the beauty industry is an ugly business, but this one takes the mascara cake. The ex-marketing director of New York-based cosmetics manufacturer/marketer Sephora has been indicted on charges of stealing more than $500,000 from the business. Judith Ashley “Tilley” Roberts allegedly stole the money between July 2000 and November 2001 by claiming fraudulent expenses while running Sephora’s retail and direct marketing campaigns. The charges claim that Roberts created false invoices for photography using a friend’s name as a company name and forged signatures to approve payment; the payments were deposited from Sephora into an account she controlled. Sephora unearthed the alleged scam when its marketing projects ended up over budget. Roberts was arrested in late May at her home in Orange Beach, AL, on charges of second- and third-degree grand larceny, forgery, and falsifying business records.

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