Catalog/Advertorial Outdoor Product Reviews-(with added Benefit-Driven Headers)

 Ten Top Outdoor Product Reviews (some with added benefit-driven headers) 

Style of copy (whether catalog or catalog-style copy) falls largely into these catalog copy writing categories:  “You-You-You”; “Quietly Upscale Descriptive” “Jes Folks”  “Narrative” “Image all the Way” and/or “Snob Appeal.”

Walrus Oasis JPG

* The following advertorial product reviews (close cousin to catalog copy) were originally published in Roads to Adventure magazine (now defunct) as part of a fun special feature section that I created titled, In Gear. These are only a few out of dozens of product descriptions that I wrote for this publication.

For the purpose of demonstrating my ability to write both benefit-driven  and creative headers (sometimes both in one header), I’ve added headers to these advertorial product reviews.



These advertorial product reviews are  similar to what you might read in a magalog.  In other words—kinda-but-not-really- editorial copy intended to cultivate trust in a customer or consumer in hopes that:

(1) they will become loyal to your brand and

(2) they will buy your product or services.

As long as a company is not being disingenuous about the fact that they are not strictly an editorial publication or about the actual merits of their product , it’s considered perfectly ethical to use advertorial.

By and large consumers trust advertorial publications (magalogs) produced by their favorite brands and do so knowing that these publications are not editorial (completely unbiased publications.)

If the truth be known, even so-called editorial publications, in deference to their existing or hope-they’ll-become-advertisers do product write ups that favor particular products over others.  Anyone who says otherwise is living in journalism school la-la land.

In my case, my ethical standards were satisfied in that at least 90% of the time, I actually tried out the products I wrote about before extolling their praises. (And had a lot of fun doing it.)

You see, it was important to me that I slept at night—even if I had to sleep on the hard ground in a tent that I spent hours trying to pitch in order to make nice with my conscience 🙂  Put another way, I sweated bullet over pitching a hotel-sized tent so that I could eventually “pitch” the tent—to our readers. With believability.

So … without further ado, let’s see what we can do to turn an advertorial product review into more of a selling piece (direct mail-catalog copy) simply by adding a benefit-driven headline. (Of course, were these actual catalog copy blocks, they would have bulleted features, and more benefit-driven language then some of these outdoor reviews do.)

A word about benefit-driven headlines: If you can create a header that is creative, while still having it be benefit driven you can pat yourself on the back. Because it’s not easy to do.  Some catalog copy, like for example, the products you see in Sky Mall (sadly, now defunct) and the Sharper Image, really excel at  benefit-driven headers.

To add clarity to a more creative, less benefit-driven header, you can restate a product’s positioning in a subhead or a lead sentence. In most catalog copy there are no subheads, so you use the lead sentence to restate more directly what you already said in the header … as this piece of writing in the first product review (Big Sky Bistro) does quite neatly. (Note: If this were an actual piece of catalog copy vs. its close cousin—an advertorial product review—I’d put more technical details via bullet points, as well as follow whatever house-style guide a catalog company had for buying info, etc.)

#1  Product: Big-Sky Bistro

Brew, Drink & Be Merry … All from the Same Container.

#2  Walrus Oasis Family Tent PLUS Eureka Scorpion Tent 

Walrus Oasis Family Tent (Good example of using storytelling to sell copy)

Big, rugged and light. It’s an all-weather family tent that sleeps seven tight.

Walrus Oasis JPG

A Rugged And Roomy 4-Season Tent That Takes The Sting Out Of Winter Camping.

#3  Fisher Price Family Vacation Camper

                 Winnebago’s Starter-Priced RV for Little (Very Little) People

Fisher PriceJPG Family Vacation

#4 Tessa Johnson’s Elegant Stationery of the West

Connect to the Old West .. and with those You Love Best through the Power of the Pen


Wild West Stationery

#5 L. L. Bean’s Map Case

No More Crumpling, Stuffing Or Ripping Your Car Maps.

#6  Magellen’s Pop-Out Magnifer

Take a Wrong Turn? No Worries.  This Tool Sets You Right … Especially at Night.

#7 Buck Knives Bucktools

A Cutting-Edge Tool that Works in a Pinch … Makes One-Tool-at-a-Time Opening a Cinch.

#8 Mother of all Lists

Mother of all Lists: It’s Erasable…and Irreplacable.


#9  Windmill Windproof Flameless Lighter

A Flameless Outdoor Lighter That Can’t Blow Out!

#10  GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Maker

Note: I’m going to have fun with this next one, so pardon me while I don’t use a benefit-driven header, but instead use the old intrigue-them-so-they’ll-read-it approach.

(FYI: All of these took under five minutes to write … an important factor in the fast-paced, deadline-driven world of catalog copy writing!)

 They’ll Laugh When You Bring this Into the Woods.  Then Wish They Had One.

(Note on above:  This header would have been more humorous back when it was originally written – before the advent of mini espresso makers.)

(ALTERNATIVE HEADER:  Make Your European Friends Jealous.  Bring this into the Woods.

#11  Hasbro’s Travel Scrabble

 Raise Your IQ on the Road

Travel JPG Scrabble

To view other catalog/web product copy IN ALL CATEGORIES (text only, with headers) click here for slideshow:

SLIDESHOW OPTION:  PRODUCT DESCRIPTION/CATALOG COPY SLIDE SHOW HERE: (Categories: Women’s Clothing – Coldwater Creek/Territory Ahead, Consumer Electronics for, etc.)

eBay copy: This is copy I wrote to sell my own stuff on eBay using one or more of the following catalog copy writing styles: “You-You-You”; “Quietly Upscale Descriptive” “Image all the Way” and/or “Snob Appeal>”  (I stopped writing these descriptions years ago as it’s not cost productive on eBay to do so.)


About seekandfind

I'm a strategic storyteller/copywriter who is divinely wired to be idea-driven, strategic minded & cause motivated.

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