"Come on, pumpkin, let's go figure out your decorating style!" announces "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" star/interior designer Thom Filicia, with a young woman in tow. (Filica. replaces previous Pier 1 celebrity endorser Kirstie Alley.)
In what sounds like one of his "Hip Tips" from his program, Thom says to her, "Just picture five favorite items from your wardrobe." Five items magically appear on a rack in front of them.
At the end, they sit next to each other on a couch, and he announces, "This is so you-licious!" Then she leans in a gives him an unexpected kiss on the cheek.
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."