I’ve been knee deep in catalogs for over 20 years. I can guarantee that I get more catalogs than any consumer. As co-founder of Catalogs.com, that’s part of my job description: order catalogs, read catalogs, know catalogs.
Yesterday, I dug into my 1-1/2 foot pile with three days of catalog mail. I love looking at catalogs, and I usually work through the pile, top to bottom. But this time, fueled with the day’s media buzz, I had a mission: find the Urban Outfitters 2012 Christmas catalog.
It was in the pile, and it didn’t disappoint. I looked at every page. I devoured every photo. I read every line of copy.
Although I don’t have a good comfort level with the bleep-bleep-bleeping language – I have teenagers of my own and we try not to go there – from a marketing perspective, this catalog is brilliant.
In addition to the edgy, social-media flavored copy, the layout and images are exactly what the Urban Outfitters buyer wants to look at. And they want to Facebook "like" the photos, “tumble” them on their Tumblr and tweet sassy tweets about exactly what that green pickle-cucumber flask thing looks like. Got it.
There are few trendy young women who won’t be enchanted by the image of the leggy model sitting cross-legged on top of a red British phone booth, with her smartphone plugged into an old-fashioned telephone handset. Getting Euro-trash, retro and sexy all at once is like hitting a jackpot in the slots of appealing to the hipster market. I guarantee the ROI on this catalog mailing will be a good one.
Urban Outfitters is right on. The marketing geniuses know their demographic. And they know how to leverage controversy for public relations benefit. Just like Sears’ perfect image of the diamond ring on the Craftsman wrench illustrated, when an e-retailer knows what images really play to their demographic, loyalty and sales will result in goodwill – and great holiday sales.