Gold Winner, Syndicated/Co-op: Catalyst Communication, Cycling Guide 2002

Though the title and the logo vary by the retailers distributing this syndicated book, it’s clear from the cover that Catalyst Communication’s 2002 catalog is a wish book for bicycle enthusiasts. Featuring two cyclists crossing the St. Mary Bridge on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana’s Glacier National Park, the front cover photo is “brilliant,” enthused a panelist. Also brilliant is how Catalyst cropped and framed the shot so that there’s ample room at the top of the page for all sizes and manners of logos.

Catalyst also excels at selecting an appropriate assortment of products for its target buyers. The catalog speaks with credibility through well-established bike brands such as Gary Fisher, Specialized, and Cannondale.

With such a comprehensive merchandising effort, the judges were relieved to see that the creative team did not shoehorn the products into the layouts “The catalog is pretty dense without looking crowded,” noted one judge. “And that’s not easy to do,” added another panelist. “Most catalogs with a niche offering end up throwing too much on a page,” which can certainly frustrate customers and cause them to overlook items.

Another strong suit, the copy really helps to move the merchandise. Each description demonstrates product knowledge and reinforces benefits. For example, a copy block on a page selling footwear opens with “Ride in comfort and style with the recessed-cleat shoe, ideal for mountain biking or touring…” What’s more, the center spread of tips and tools covering such topics as “Does Your Helmet Fit?” and Why You Need a Floor Pump” provides a sure sense of authority.

At the same time, the tone of the copy is not intimidating and manages to appeal to cyclists of all ability and experience levels. “This book strikes the right balance between technical and entertaining,” said a judge. For example, a tip box on “Body Geometry” begins “Butts are like snowflakes: no two are alike, so choosing a seat is crucial…” “Since the real mission is to drive traffic to the retail locations, the sense of humor that the book conveys will go a long way to motivating customers to visit their local retailer,” said a judge. The coupon on the inside back cover most likely also encourages retail traffic, while also helping the stores measure the catalog as a marketing device.

Creating one syndicated catalog that many retailers will use isn’t easy, but with this edition Catalyst Communications proves it knows what it’s doing. The inside back cover of the catalog invites customers to “Explore Cycling — Expand Your World,” and the judges agreed that with this comprehensive book, doing so would be a snap.

Catalyst Communication
1515 Walnut St., Suite 300
Boulder, CO 80302

Company founded: 1985
Directors: Leslie Bohm, Gregg Thayer
Designer: Sasha Halenda
Production director: Tracy Mintz
Merchandiser: Leslie Bohm
Copywriter: Joe Lindsey
Photographer: Gregor Halenda
Illustrator: Mike Kasun
Marketing director: Gregg Thayer
Prepress provider/color separator/printer: RR Donnelley
Cover paper: 80 lb. #3
Text paper: 60 lb. #3
Trim size: 9″ × 10-3/4″
Number of pages: 24-32