Sitting at opposite ends of a long leather couch, a couple describes how they can't agree, as the camera peers over the shoulder of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" star/interior designer Thom Filica. (He replaces previous celebrity endorser Kirstie Alley.)
"We can't agree," she announces. "She doesn't like my ideas," he adds. "I like drama," she emphasizes. "I'm more laid back," he conveys.
"I prefer bright colors, like beige," she says. He rolls his eyes at the obvious stupidity of her comment.
"Relax! We'll work it out," says Thom in a reassuring manner. "We're at Pier 1, people. Come on."
Showing them around the store, he says, "Your roadblock is men and women describe things differently. Don't use words, use pictures." It's the kind of thing he may have given as a "Hip Tip" on his show "Queer Eye."
Signing off, Thom adds, "Those crazy kids just might make it!"
Consumers surveyed by Ad Track, a weekly poll from USA TODAY
, approve of the campaign; 21% liked the ads a lot, equaling the Ad Track average. About 23% of women gave the ads the top rating, vs. 17% of men. And 20% considered the ads "very effective."
"We wanted somebody that was renowned as a decorator-expert, and Thom certainly has been well connected in his career," explained Marvin J. Girouard, chairman and CEO of Pier 1. "He's done some things that we think will really play well into the type of merchandising and advertising that we're going to."
The campaign was part of a trend to move toward acceptance of some openly gay celebrity endorsers, including his colleague Carson Kressley from "Queer Eye," for Midwest department store Marshall Fields, and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi for Target -- both of whom are more flamboyant than Filicia.
However, as "Queer Eye" ratings slid, and store sales didn't get a bump from the campaign, Filica was not renewed by Pier 1 and the $60 million advertising account switched agencies.
After the agency switch, Girouard spoke with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, explaining why Filicia didn't return. "I think we tried to do too much with him as a decorator on TV. We misused him. He's not an actor. He can possibly bring some value doing decorating shows and that sort of thing. I told him when I met him, 'You really need to be measured by the number of people that come into the stores,' and our traffic numbers have been weak since about the start of the year."