With some catalogs, it’s impossible to figure out their target market, even after studying the books from front to back. The merchandise mix is broad and vague, the copy generic, the page layouts bland. That’s not the case with the Holiday 2000 edition of the Orvis Men’s Traditions catalog. Every element of the book is honed to appeal to middle- and upper-income men who enjoy fly-fishing and wine-tasting with equal enthusiasm.
Look at the product offerings: Rancher’s coats and Harris Tweed blazers. Rubber hunting boots and waxed-leather briefcases. Flannel shirts and silk pajamas. “All the items create a mood, fit into a genre, and have a similar style: evocative, rugged, adventuresome, practical,” said one judge.
Another judge praised how each spread displays items from several product categories to encourage add-on sales. Pages 4-5, for instance, feature a coat, cardigans, shirts, a watch, and boots. Tying the disparate items together is a photo of a distinguished gentleman wearing one of the shirts and one of the cardigans beneath the coat. If the reader of the catalog didn’t know what to give his father for Christmas, this spread would provide the answer: Buy him the entire ensemble.
The copy further enhances the merchandise selection. Across the opening inside spread is this quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “At night, the stars seem to snap and glitter.…In its winding bed the river lay fixed like a huge bent bar of blue steel.” If that callout doesn’t set the tone for the catalog, nothing will.
As for the merchandise descriptions, they romance the products while promoting the benefits — in an utterly graceful manner. To wit: “…Moleskin is a unique all-cotton fabric as only the English can produce — rugged as leather, but velvet-soft to the hand. These Super-Washed Moleskin pants are a heavier version for the active outdoorsman, but they’ve been washed down first to break them in for instant active-wear use and comfort. Plain-front pants cut generously for an active fit.…” As one judge said, “The copy is very consistent with the brand. The tone is that of a trusted friend and outdoorsman.”
In keeping with the “trusted friend” mood, Orvis makes shopping as simple as possible by offering gift certificates, gift wrapping, next-business-day delivery, an 800-number for Spanish speakers, and the ability to track order and shipping information online or via a toll-free phone line. In addition to being prominently featured on the order form, many of these services are promoted on the inside cover. So is the guarantee: “For over 100 years, we have offered the strongest return policy in the business. We will refund your money on any purchase that isn’t 100% satisfactory. Anytime. For any reason. It’s that simple.”
And don’t forget the Orvis Conservation plan, in which the cataloger “donates 5% of its pretax profits to preserving fish and wildlife habitats throughout the United States.” That’s a cause certain to be near and dear to the hearts of its customers.
The Orvis Co.
Historic Route 7A
Manchester, VT 05254
Company founded: 1856
Directors: Jim LePage, Bill Eyre
Designer: David Lindberg
Production manager: Susan Murphy
Merchandisers: Tom Rosenbauer,
Copywriter: Tom Murray
Photographers: Geoff Baris, H/O Photography
Marketing manager: Jon Mori
Printer/color separator: Quad/Graphics
List broker/manager: Millard Group
Cover paper: 55 lb.
Text paper: 34 lb.
Number of pages: 128
Trim size: 7-5/16″ × 10-1/2″