News to Us
Hot off the presses from Orvis, a premier cataloger of hunting and fishing equipment, fine clothing and gifts, is Orvis News (301ORVISC0498). This newspaper/sales catalog, which has been in existence for 35 years, is the only one of its kind that we have come across in our direct mail archive--probably because none of our correspondents recognized it as a direct mail effort.
Combining sale products and insightful editorial, Orvis News is actually published in two different versions: one focusing on hunting and fishing, and the other on apparel and gifts. The hunting and fishing edition targets customers who have recently made a purchase of $100 or more in related sporting merchandise, according to Ryan Shadrin, editor-in chief of Orvis News. This sportsman-friendly edition enjoys a circulation of 200,000.
Besides the bevy of sale merchandise found in the "newspaper," information about new fishing techniques, calendars for Orvis' fishing and hunting schools, and stories that revolve around new products are featured.
The response to the newspaper format, which is published five times a year, has been "very good" says Shadrin, noting a 4.4-percent response. The "newspaper" does take outside advertising at $6,000 a page with an overall cost of $1,500 per page in production costs. Shadrin explains that the advertising helps offset production costs.
Boasting a circulation of 450,000, the clothing and gift edition does equally as well as the fishing and hunting version. It's been published four times a year over the last 10 years and targets the in-house list of females who have made a purchase within the last six months to a year. According to Shadrin, response to this version is around 3.7 percent.
The 111/2"x141/2" self mailer is produced on newsprint and features a mix of color and black and white photos. It does contain an order form--similar to the one found in Orvis' other catalogs. The form provides a plethora of information on how to order products or sign up for programs.
By combining sale items and editorial features, Orvis has created a unique twist on marketing overstocks and slower moving product.