“You never get a second chance to make a ﬁ rst
impression”: That saying rang in my head as I
leafed through a recent catalogue from a small
home decor merchant.
I’m not going to name the catalogue, because
I don’t want to shame an entrepreneurial effort.
ving read the entire 36-page book I’d hazard
a guess that the owner ﬁ gured her expertise in
merchandising and sourcing as well as her good
taste in decorating were all she needed to produce
a successful brochure. Alas, it wasn’t.
Take the inside front cover: a lifestyle shot
showing more than a half-dozen products in a room.
The photo isn’t high quality, however, so it’s tough
to make out the features of some of the items. And
there’s no key—no letter “A” next to an item that
corresponds to the “A” next to the product copy.
It’s all too much hard work.
Most of the pages that follow do include keying of
the product shots to the copy, but the letters aren’t
always easy to ﬁ nd. Staring at one photo in search
of “C”, I felt like I was working on one of those “ﬁ nd
the hidden objects” drawings that appear on the
paper place mats at child-friendly restaurants.
A callout for one of the furniture ranges notes
that it is “beautifully ﬁ nished in black lacquer with
a distressed edging detail”. The photos are neither
large enough nor clear enough that I could make
out the edging detail, however. Before I consider
paying £490 for a dining table, I want to see
that distressed edging, to make sure it’s not too
distressed for my taste.
Perhaps the print catalogue was designed
primarily to drive trafﬁ c to the website, where the
entire product line could be viewed, and in greater
detail. But it’s dangerous to assume
Catalogue Exchange update
that people read a print catalogue
The beneﬁ ts of going naked—or
only to head online for more details.
rather, of having your catalogues
For many direct businesses, the web still accounts
for less than half of their sales.
The print catalogue was my ﬁ rst impression
of this brand. And although it’s obvious that the
products were lovingly selected and styled; that
The Plastic Parts Centre site
serious coin was spent on the paper stock; that
does what it set out to do, but
the company really does aim to please (“We know
is that enough?
you just can’t wait to lay hands on your purchase,
so we do our utmost best to despatch all orders
within 24 hours”—how sweet is that?), the creative
does nothing to make me want to go for a second
Asco Educational Supplies
impression. Best practice in creative
managing director Tom Marshall
becomes best practice for a reason,
a reason that this catalogue, sadly, makes clear.
Thoughts from readers, and from
S Cuttlebutt too
ceb 170.indd 25 26/10/09 19:19:36
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