Open Marriage for Pier 1, Deutsch

NEW YORK Struggling retailer Pier 1 said it would seek out creative resources beyond its lead agency, Interpublic Group’s Deutsch.

The New York shop landed the $60 million account after a review in October 2004.

In a joint statement, Deutsch and the client said, “Pier 1 Imports and Deutsch have mutually agreed to a non-exclusive creative arrangement.”

The company “will now have the flexibility to access other creative resources,” and the agreement “allows Deutsch to pitch other home furnishings and decor clients,” a representative at Pier 1 said.

“Our account is not up for review,” she added. “We won’t be hiring another agency. Deutsch will still be a resource for our marketing needs.”

Pier 1’s relationship with Omnicom Group’s OMD, its media planning and buying agency, is unaffected, she said.

Deutsch bested Publicis Groupe’s Fallon and independent Laird + Partners, both New York; Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco; and independent The Loomis Agency, Dallas, to win the business last year. Then-incumbent IPG’s Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., did not contend.

During that review, the competing agencies were asked to craft a new image campaign for the Fort Worth, Texas-based client, which had been using Queer Eye for the Straight Guy personality Thom Filicia in its advertising. Agencies presented work that included Felicia and work that did not, sources said [Adweek, Oct. 18, 2004].

Deutsch’s campaign, tagged “Life more interesting,” broke in March, but by then, Filicia was no longer in the Pier 1 marketing mix.

On Dec. 15, the company reported that third-quarter sales were down 2.5 percent to $475 million from the same period a year ago, and that comparable store sales fell 6.5 percent.

Sales for the nine months ending Nov. 26 fell 3 percent to $1.32 billion compared to the same period in 2004. Same-store sales for the nine-month period fell almost 9 percent, the company said.

Pier 1 Imports has more than 1,200 stores around the world.