Epson Education Solutions, Winter 1999

Epson captivates teachers with inspirational statements, a highly organized format, and an array of suggested classroom applications for its high-tech product line. “It’s unusual in grades K-12 to get this much information on how to use these products,” commented one judge. “It speaks directly to the teacher, and it’s easy to use.”

Epson, whose products include printers and digital cameras, establishes itself as a “how to” source from the start; the dramatic cover photo depicts a “moment of discovery” between a student and teacher rather than product. “The cover serves only to tantalize,” said one judge. “Its role seems to be to raise the question `What’s this all about?’ And hopefully, teachers will be so curious they’ll want to take a look inside.”

Inside, judges were impressed with the catalog’s clear organization, featuring brightly colored heads denoting each product category, easy-to-read typeface, and statistical informational charts for each product. Each section begins with sample projects that can easily be cross-referenced with specific products described in subsequent sections. Said one judge, “This has brilliant organization. It works very well.”

As for the copy and content, “it’s exciting and editorially interesting,” noted one judge. For example, the headline “Relive a day in the life of a famous historical personality” is followed by copy suggesting how students can use Epson’s digital cameras, scanners, and ink-jet printers to prepare such a presentation. Other potential projects include creating a virtual road trip, custom books, and a personal collage. “The catalog is filled with examples of how teachers can use Epson equipment to make their class projects more exciting and beneficial to the students,” said a judge.

But because of the emphasis on the class projects, “actual Epson products are given a secondary role,” said one judge. If a teacher isn’t interested in a particular class project or subject, he or she will have little interest in spending money on these products.

Customer service is also a weak point for Epson; the cataloger doesn’t mention a guarantee or technical support. Also, merchandise prices in many cases are ambiguous or unlisted. “How many teachers are likely to know what `street price’ means?” asked one judge.

Still, Epson has a lot to be proud of. An exceptional creative presentation, in-depth benefits information, and a refreshing, teacher-friendly style make this catalog a Silver winner.

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