Pier 1 Gets in the Holiday Spirit

Pier 1 Imports is set to launch a holiday campaign aimed at prying consumers away from the shopping malls and into its 900 stores.

The effort, created jointly by Campbell-Ewald’s offices in Santa Monica, Calif., and Warren, Mich., in cludes three variations of a 30-second TV spot. The ad retains the tagline, “Get in touch with your senses,” and features two-year Pier 1 spokeswoman Kirstie Alley.

Spending on the campaign was undisclosed. The 40-year-old retailer, based in Fort Worth, Texas, spent more than $55 million on ads in 2001 and nearly $30 million through July of 2002, according to CMR.

The new spot opens with a woman heading into a shopping mall. Alley appears, wearing a ball gown and cape, and warns, “Don’t go in there!” She whisks the woman away in a horse-drawn sleigh. The scene shifts from a cold, blustery, gray day to the warmth of Pier 1, where the two immerse themselves in holiday shopping.

The ad has three different endings, including a plug for a candle sale and a reminder that Pier 1 is great for last-minute gifts.

“The basis of the campaign is getting in touch with your senses,” said Campbell-Ewald evp and exe cutive creative director Debbie Karnowsky. “Kirstie is a creative magnifier of that. She’s somewhat free-spirited, has an eclectic personality, she’s stylish and she has a sense of humor.”

Pier 1 vice president of marketing Leslie Eades said the work helps position Pier 1 as “relaxing, stimulating and a sanctuary at the same time. It’s a place that is fun, warm and inviting. It is not hectic like a mall environment.”

Karnowsky said Alley’s efforts to steer the shopper away from the mall combines a classic holiday flavor with a sitcom attitude. She noted that Alley’s wardrobe is reminiscent of the styles favored by Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in their classic movies.

The TV commercial will roll out Nov. 25 and will air on national network and cable stations. The campaign also includes newspaper inserts and online work.

Using research conducted by Campbell-Ewald, Pier 1 has refined its target audience beyond women ages 25-54, Karnowsky said. “It’s much more about the psychographic and the mind-set,” she said. “It’s [people] who are sensual, personal-environment nurturers, active individuals and shopping enthusiasts.”