Cheered by festive catalogue creativity

Jo Francis
Friday, November 8, 2013

Over the weekend my quest to unearth this year’s most interesting Christmas catalogues began in earnest. 

A visit to Peter Jones resulted in a considerable amount of print booty. The John Lewis festive ‘annual’ all 336pp of it, is a wowser. Slick gatefold cover AND it includes an insert with die-cut paper bauble shapes. Love it.

Its autumn/winter Home catalogue (172pp) is also tip-top. It too involves creative use of inserts – including a clever recipe card, a translucent page of glassware, and an 8pp ‘design icons’ throw-out. Good work team John Lewis!

Elsewhere, Muji’s little 60pp sock-shaped number is both cute and attention-grabbing.

And Christmas catalogue stalwart Boots has set up point-of-sale displays that are like a mini Argos to encourage people to order from its catalogue in-store.

The beginning of the 2013 collection caused me to look back on something I wrote on this topic last year, and I have an interesting update for you.

In this blog I cited the example of a firm that had decided to ditch its catalogue in favour of email marketing.

I wondered at the time how that would pan out, and the answer it seems is (surprise!) not terribly well.

For this festive season said customer has returned to print with not one, not two, but three catalogues to drive sales of its range.

Because ultimately it needs to use the best channels IN ORDER TO ACTUALLY SELL THINGS.

Digital marketing may be cheap, but if it doesn’t actually deliver the desired result then it becomes a very expensive decision all round.

“Look I saved all this money on print and mailing costs”

Later… “Um, we haven’t hit our sales targets”

One marketer at least has learned the high cost of a cheap price.

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