Last month, 93 catalogues crossed my path. We’re only three days into May and I have already counted 20 more titles being logged into our Catalogue Tracker spread sheet. It stands to reason, therefore, that a catalogue has to be special to catch my eye and stand out from the crowd.
Here are a few examples of marketing pieces that landed on my desk these past few days, from the good, to the not so good, to the huh?
Love ‘em or hate ‘em but Boden sure know how to write great catalogue copy. A colleague passed me a Mini Boden reactivation catalogue this week that is so darn adorable it’s really difficult not to place an order. The creative is simple but stellar: the children’s clothing catalogue uses persuasive cartoon animals to offer customers 15 percent off, plus free delivery and free returns. The cover laments: I’m sorry, I must try harder and on page 2 Johnnie Boden goes on to say, Like an elephant, I never forget anyone. But the silence at your end suggests I haven’t been putting a smile on your face. The copy ends with With everything crossed. Page 3 then describes the benefits of shopping with Boden, reiterating the offer, the quality of the clothes and the no-quibble guarantee. How can you say resist?
Formerly known as The Sleep Room.com, a Loaf catalogue landed on my doormat this month. As Charlie Marshall, the company’s “head of sleep” put it, the catalogue will help create a place where you can enjoy the horizontal side of life. The relaxed atmosphere is conveyed in the catalogue’s range of furniture and homewares in subtle, natural tones, strategically placed blankets, newspapers and coffee cups in the room sets, and a matt finish to the paper stock. The catalogue took me on a peaceful journey, I felt relaxed flicking through it, imagining a sunny Sunday morning reading the papers.
That is until the catalogue made me work a little harder than I’d have liked. One of the recurring products in the catalogue is a linen bundle, usually comprising pillow cases, duvet cover and a sheet. Page 7, for example, features the Classic Ticking Bundle, from £75, includes two pillow cases, a duvet cover and a fitted sheet. Now I don’t know about you, but before buying bed linen I need to know the size. Does £75 fit a double bed or a king-size bed? How deep is the fitted sheet? What’s the thread count? I searched everywhere for this information in the catalogue, to no avail. A quick search on the website for Ticking Bundle brought up some of the details, but I was still unsure of whether it would actually fit my bed. I’d have like to see a page in the catalogue explaining the bundles on offer and breaking down the prices into single, double and king-size beds. The White Company does a good job of this.
...Here comes the huh. Already tired from searching for fitted sheets that match my new mattress, I should have been prepared for another wild goose chase. Step forward Acorn, a purveyor of DVDs of classic TV shows. The cover promised me a free copy of Foyle’s War: The German Woman and directed me to the back cover for full details. On the back cover I understood the deal was for one episode of Foyle’s War, for which I would qualify simply by placing an order. So far, so good.
Then I was asked to see the coupon for details. Coupon? I looked back in the bin where I had just discarded the polywrap—no coupon. I shook out the catalogue. No coupon. Huh? It was only by chancing across the order form on page 29 that it was finally made clear how to get my hands on this DVD. I understand that space is tight on the back cover and that the offer could not be explained in full, but why send me to the back page only to come back to page 29? Instead, perhaps the cover could have pointed me in the direction of the order form for full details, and used the back cover to reinforce the message?
With all this hunting around, I need a lie down.
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