S.C.R.U.B.S., June 1997

Sep 01, 1998 9:30 PM  By

Through its use of fanciful stories that play off the patterns featured on these garments for healthcare professionals, S.C.R.U.B.S. (Simply Comfortable Really Unique Basic Scrubs) injects what could be a dry merchandise category with humor and imagination, and endears itself to its customers. Called whimsical and fun by the judges, the catalog “underscores the uplifting mood the customer would like to convey in his or her medical office,” says one judge. “S.C.R.U.B.S. has a personality and thus a marketing position,” says another.

One judge marvels at the copy’s ingenuity: “This writer must have worked hard to come up with so much-after all, cotton is cotton.” And the same ingenuity can be found in the product assortment. Who would have thought that medical scrubs could come in so many colors and patterns? From the classic mint green to patterns such as “jungle nights” and “flying pigs,” the breadth of merchandise expands one’s imagination of what can be done with scrubs.

Throughout the book, the product is the hero. But the panelists are divided on the effectiveness of overall design. While one judge notes that the company is able to “put a great deal of product on each page without confusing the reader,” another disagrees, saying that “the pages in general are very busy and can be hard to shop from.” Yet another points to the “lack of space and lack of attention to fabric finish icons.”

But S.C.R.U.B.S. pays plenty of attention to its target market. One way it leverages its knowledge of its audience is through the humorous and educational “details” portion of the book. In this section, the catalog educates customers about the garments and accessories through sketches reminiscent of an anatomy textbook.

And though the colorful illustrations and creative copy lend a whimsical tone to the entire catalog, one thing S.C.R.U.B.S. is not whimsical about is its customer satisfaction guarantee. The company prominently displays its “No hassles. No restrictions” guarantee on the inside front cover, making one judge immediately “believe and trust in this merchant.” If a customer is not satisfied with the garment received, he or she can return it in a postage-paid envelope S.C.R.U.B.S. includes in the order package.

But perhaps the most powerful element of the S.C.R.U.B.S. catalog, and one that makes it most worthy of a Silver Award, is its ability to take healthcare professionals away from the high-stress environment of the emergency room and to dreamy, peaceful destinations evoked by the garment patterns. With stories such as “Possibly, Eden?” and “Happily Lost at Sea,” S.C.R.U.B.S. succeeds in transforming shopping for medical garments into a playful, diverting adventure.