Orvis Gift & Home, Holiday 1999

Sep 01, 2000 9:30 PM  By

With its front cover, Silver Award winner Orvis Gift & Home transports readers to a warm country setting. After all, who can resist Orvis’s adorable cover puppy perched in the company’s Battenkill wastebasket? “It’s a wonderful lifestyle cover! It forces you to turn the page,” said one judge.

But some panelists felt that the strong cover photo and merchandising did not carry through to the inside of the book. “It’s a cute cover, but it’s isolated. It doesn’t flow with the inside spreads,” said one judge.

The catalog offers a wide assortment of country-flavored gifts, including furniture, clothing, accessories, and even children’s merchandise. According to the judges, merchandising seems to come naturally to Orvis. “This is an excellent lifestyle catalog. It understands the market and merchandises strongly to it,” noted a judge. From stoneware with a farm-animal print to trout-embroidered hand towels, from pig-shape iron door stops to a portable starfinder, the product selection is bound to make even the most urban consumer yearn for a country home.

“This look is distinctive because it has a strong brand and a focus on the country lifestyle,” said a judge. What’s more, the private-label items, such as rugged canvas luggage, reinforce Orvis’s knowledge of its market. One panelist, however, pointed out that some of the children’s products seem out of place in the catalog.

While most of the judging panel acknowledged the “warm and fuzzy” feel of the creative, others found the abundance of product distracting. “Orvis gets a lot of product in the catalog, but the eye flow throughout is compromised,” complained a judge. Nonetheless, the service-oriented conversational copy enhances the product images. “The copy adds lifestyle direction to product…it’s a strong benefit sale,” noted a judge.

Overall, the catalog earned high marks for customer service. “It’s nice to see the order number, the 24 hours call-out and Website address on most pages,” a panelist said. Monogramming, 5% donated to conservation efforts, a store location listing, and white glove shipping are just a few of the services offered. And, “it even offers a Spanish-language 800-number!” praised one judge. It’s the attention to details like this that have earned Orvis the Silver Award.