Happy hampers

RoxStars

We ran a page on Christmas hampers in Saturday’s magazine, and I wouldn’t blame you if you glanced at it and wondered why it contained all the usual suspects, the Fortnums, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols of this world. Do we need a newspaper to tell us about them, you might have asked. Where were all the more quirky offerings from smaller suppliers?

I could argue that hampers aren’t necessarily about the contents (which will always be hit and miss with the recipient) but more about the “thought” (for which read “price”). It’s the same reason dinner hosts will be delighted with a bottle that bears the word “champagne” no matter how thin and acidic it is, and less enthusiastic about a superior bottle of sparkling wine that cost twice the price. It’s all about the brand and perceived value.

None of that was the real driver here, though. It was down to images, plain and simple. An ad dropped out and we had a couple of hours to put the page together. I had no shortage of interesting hamper suggestions, but too few of them were accompanied by decent photography.

I know it’s difficult for smaller brands. They will never have the same budget as the major retailers, but it’s really important they do the best job they can, especially when presenting their products for such a visual slot as Christmas gift pages.

In the old days, we’d have asked you to provide a sample so we could photograph it ourselves. Now you can save on that cost and put it towards more professional photography yourselves. Too late for this year, of course, but bear it in mind for next. Last week, I’d have bitten your arm off.