Wednesday, November 24, 2004

the xmas newspaper insert review

If it's Xmas, it's time for my morning Globe and Mail to be loaded with one gift insert after another. You know, those (usually) glossy little mags with gift-giving ideas generally geared towards yuppies, aging boomers or the well-heeled?

The deluge started a few weeks ago with the overpriced gift-basket catalogues. They're not covered here, as I tossed them out after they provide my morning chuckle. Here's a couple that are still lying around my desk:

President's Choice Insider's Report - nowhere near as fun to look through as in the Dave Nichol days. Used to love going through these as a kid, to figure out what to tell Mom to throw in the cart next time we hit Zehrs (back then, it was usually the Kingsville location). The way those inserts were written, you really wanted to go out and try this fantastic stuff they discovered!

Now? Meh.

Though they generously toss exclamation marks through the Report, it doesn't grab your interest like it used too. The back half, featuring home product specials, barely deviates from their regular flyer. If you want a taste of the old Insider Reports, check out the flyer the US chain Trader Joe's sends out (though the old Insider Reports went for goofy cartoons, not turn-of-the-century ads).

Another problem: they keep reusing the same cartoons. The PC Chef dude needs a new range of expressions.

Least-appetizing products: Blueberry Cheesecake Crunch cookies, puff pastry pizza.

Harry Rosen - provides stocking stuffer suggestions. Like a $275 scarf is a stocking stuffer for anybody in my tax bracket. This insert also wins Worst Pun of the Season So Far - a line of UK dress-shirted under the headline SOHO-HO. Despite this, it's a nicely-designed insert.

LCBO Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide - another pretty-looking flyer. This guide covers every budget, from cheap sets of sample bottles to a "Mazzetti Grappa Chess Set in Wooden Case", where each glass chess piece contains a shot of grappa, yours for only $1,500.

Oddball, yet practical item: the Good Host Kit, with all the tolietries your stone-drunk friends will need if they have to sleep off the Xmas bash at your place, with half the retail price going to MADD.

Just Odd: "Pop art" champagne bottles. Because fine art is the only thing you'll want to be thinking of when Dick Clark drops the ball.

Chapters/Indigo: flip through this insert and you might think you'd been handed the LCBO's table scraps. I think this flyer is what the CEO meant by "cultural department store", if your culture is defined by $139 Nigella Lawson mixing bowls and small, "elegant", pricy plastic-wrapped cones of potpourri. A flip through this insert sums up all I despise about Canada's big book chain.

More to come... - JB


amy said...

Gavin was raving about the blueberry cheesecake cookies. But then, this is a guy who doesn't even like chocolate and mint together. :oP

Jamie said...

Hmm, maybe you should grab one or two from him and we can have a taste test on the weekend.