Harry and David, Christmas 1998

One word is typically all you need to describe a Harry and David food catalog: yum. And this Christmas book, which tied for the Silver Award, is no exception. “Harry and David maintains a long-established tradition and sticks to the principles that put the company in its leadership position,” a judge says. The company continues to do well what it has always done well, another judge notes: “providing an astounding assortment of great food gifts, presenting them beautifully, and offering the customer high-level, dependable service.” A third panelist raves, “It presents quality with quality. Distinctive products presented with distinction.”

With all that said, the judges immediately launch into a dispute about the cover of this holiday book. Several call it beautiful and appropriate, but others feel it just doesn’t measure up to the Harry and David standard. “I think they could have given this cover more excitement,” one panelist laments. “This one is just lacking in originality.” And while copy gets high marks from most, one panelist does grouse that there are hints of sloppiness in places, such as an offer of a “half and half” assortment of three items.

There is little dispute about merchandising, though. This book’s broad assortment of holiday gifts wows the panel. “Harry and David really knows its market, and it fine-tunes its merchandising to that market,” one judge says.

Design and production, most agree, shout quality from start to finish. Baskets of apples and pears are elegantly lighted and propped; spreads are cohesive and easy on the eyes; photography is crisp; the paper stock is just the right weight and opacity. Moreover, one judge notes, “nice graphics call attention to special offers throughout the book,” making it easy for the customer to shop.

Overall, the judges agree, marketing and concept is Harry and David’s strength. The company knows its fruits are expensive, and instead of hiding that fact, the catalog positions its brand by focusing on these high-quality, unique, and distinctive gift items. And this Christmas book maintains the company’s long-standing commitment to service, with an excellent reinforcement of the guarantee and return policy, and ease of ordering.

“This is what can happen when great creative, merchandising, and marketing come together,” a judge concludes. And we agree!

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