Pier 1 to Offer ‘How-To’ Advice

Aiming to capitalize on the popularity of home-makeover shows, Campbell-Ewald is developing a campaign set to break March 1 for Pier 1 Imports that uses a new strategy and spokesman, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s Thom Filicia.

Filicia’s selection, confirmed last week by Pier 1, followed a search of nationally known inte- rior designers. “We decided to start working on a new campaign that focused more on how you can utilize Pier 1 merchandise and products,” said Phil Schneider, evp of marketing at the Fort Worth, Texas-based home-furnishings retailer. The work will include ads that show Filicia interacting with customers, he said.

Because of space limitations in its stores, Pier 1 can’t display its products as they would appear in a home, but it is looking to Filicia to discuss how the merchandise can work together, Schneider added.

Filicia will use “unexpected ways” to “help people discover their own sense of style and design,” said Debbie Karnowsky, evp and executive creative director at C-E in Santa Monica, Calif. While concepts are still in development, TV spots will use “unexpected visuals,” she said, with scenes inside the store and in home settings. The tagline, “Get in touch with your senses,” remains.

Ads with prior spokeswoman Kirstie Alley primarily showed her surrounded by merchandise in the stores. Pier 1 spent about $55 million on advertising in 2002, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The company reported November sales of $170.9 million, up more than 10 percent from last November. The 1,000-plus-store retailer has about 2 percent market share, trailing No. 1 Bed Bath & Beyond and No. 2 Linens ‘n Things, according to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in Atlanta.