Harry and David, Cool Fruit 1999

A fruit basket is only a fruit basket – unless, of course, it comes from Harry and David. The venerable fruit gifts cataloger knows how to sell fruit – and a host of other food and plant gifts – by mail like no one else. And the company has a slew of Annual Catalog Awards to prove it.

Harry and David’s Silver Award-winning Cool Fruit 1999 catalog shows, not surprisingly, fruit on the cover. But what luscious fruit! Sliced strawberries, peaches, melon balls, and blueberries – all spilling out of a juicy melon half. The bright and colorful cover photo really captured the judges’ attention, although some panelists said the cover theme should have been continued on the opening spread, which sells premium cherries. Or, as one judge suggested, “the opening spread would have tied in better if they had put cherries on the cover.”

In fact, the cherries featured on the opening spread are so spectacular that some judges were skeptical about the photography, since the vibrant red fruits look to be the size of apples. Even though a callout proclaims “Yes, they really are this big and beautiful,” a small line confirming that the cherries are shown actual size might have eliminated any confusion.

Harry and David’s photography practically leaps off the page. “Each image perfectly conveys the essence of the fruit – the texture, the color, and seemingly, the aroma,” one judge said. The “beautifully descriptive” catalog copy provides plenty of detailed information about the products as well as offers gift suggestions.

Harry and David sells much more than fruit, however. The cataloger’s merchandise line extends to vegetables, baked goods, plants, meats, and seafood from all over the country. “It’s absolutely amazing that a company based in Oregon can offer Florida stone crabs,” marveled one judge. The catalog’s huge breadth of product is evidence of its extraordinary sourcing capabilities. Yet the vast range of products led one panelist to ask, “How does salmon fit in with the theme of cool fruit?” There’s a disconnect between what the cover portrays and the extensive merchandise selection inside, the judge said.

Nonetheless, the catalog’s impressive order form covers all the bases, including a table that matches delivery dates, charges, and cut-off ordering dates. The hard-working order form also lists store locations and highlights new products. Said one judge: “It really makes you want to give a Harry and David gift.”

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