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The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Pier 1 Imports Vs. TJX Cos.

December 17, 2013

Two commercials, each created with the goal of drumming up consumer excitement and driving traffic and sales.

In the ninth episode of the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge, we offer up new spots from Pier 1 Imports and TJX Cos. for you to critique. (Toys "R" Us won in week one; Best Buy in week two; Kmart in week three; Kohl's in week four; Sports Authority in week five; Overstock.com in week six; L.L. Bean in week seven; and Party City in week eight.) Next week, we will put all the winners from the ongoing competition up for a vote to determine the merchant with the most to be cheerful about during this season of stress and, hopefully, cheer.

[Image: Pier 1 ad]

[Image: TJX Cos. ad]

Which is better? You decide.


Discussion Questions:

What do you think of Pier 1 Imports' "So Cute" and TJX Cos.' "The Gifter: Mission 5" commercials? Which will do the best job of reinforcing the individual retailer's brand and drive business this holiday season?

While we value unfettered opinion, we urge you to show respect and courtesy for people or companies about whom you comment. Keep in mind that this is a public, professional business discussion. RetailWire reserves the right to edit or refuse the publication of remarks that we deem unsuitable. We may also correct for unintended spelling and grammatical errors.

Instant Poll:

Which commercial do you think will be most effective in helping to drive business this holiday season?


I don't think either of these spots reinforce the core story of either brand. Pier 1 tries to be cute without touting any brand attributes, while TJX tells viewers that they have products for sale and offers a sweepstakes. Based on these spots, both retailers have lost their way.

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Max Goldberg, President, Max Goldberg & Associates

I vote for Pier 1 imports. This commercial shows an inviting shopping environment and a unique item which conveys to the consumer this is a place to shop. TJX continues this 3 brand advertising. Yes, it reduces advertising expense, but it conveys that these store brands are the same. Not sure how consumers without prior knowledge would know which store to shop for what.

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W. Frank Dell II, CMC, President, Dellmart & Company

TJX Cos. does a better job of identifying its brands, available products and an inducement to shop at the stores. The musical score helps maintain the momentum and can possibly hold on to viewers until the end...which comes up quickly. Thank goodness. It's not especially entertaining, although it attempts to be just that.

Am I the only one who had to watch the Pier 1 Imports ad twice to figure out what was going on? I believe the two deer are speaking and not the girl and her mother (the two dears). So what I thought was sweet is actually...something else, maybe macabre (I'm probably over reacting).

In general I agree with Max.

But in the spirit of selecting one over the other, TJX Cos wins it this time for me.

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Joan Treistman, President, The Treistman Group LLC

Pier 1's play on "find what speaks to you" is clever (or macabre as Joan mentioned?) as it brings the product to life in an interactive shopping experience. Maybe too clever for the average shopper?

TJX does the expected, adding excitement and gaming to last minute shopping with suspense-filled music track, a mission, and a chance to win via social media.

Between the two, TJX probably will get more shopper interaction and store visits. As to branding, TJX blurs this with their three brand ad approach. Overall, TJX by a reindeer nose.

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Mohamed Amer, Vice President, Global Integrated Retail Unit, SAP

Two winners here.

Pier 1 pulls in a cute kid (Kris Kringle has already told us that kids were what the Season's all about), and reminds us that they are an important source for even non-gift items. The Prosper Monthly Survey points out that 63.5% of moms will take advantage of non-gift opportunities over the holidays, compared to just 53.0% of total adults. The message pulls at the heart and family at the right time of the year.

TJX has a masterful message - the adventure of a dynamic woman who is seeking cloths for herself and others. 64.3% of females will be shopping for cloths over the holidays - the highest category of merchandise. 76.1% of moms will buy clothing gifts for the holidays. Great kicker in letting the adventurers know that they could win $500 in value - the consumer is seeking that "bonus" this year.

Hate to waffle on this one, but both are well executed and hit the targets perfectly.

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Roger Saunders, Managing Director, Prosper Business Development

Pretty much hated them both, but TJX may drive a bit more late business because of the sweepstakes, so I guess it wins. The cute but whiny child who represents and only reminds us of every adorable but annoying whiny child we know, that wants everything she sees and begs mom to buy it? Talk about a tin ear, Pier 1.


These are both well-done Madison Ave. style commercials with different appeals. What is more important is that they are memorable, have a call to action and get us talking (like here). Personally, I like the "So Cute" just a little bit better...but....

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Kai Clarke, President, Kowa Optimed, Inc.

At the end of the TJX ad, I had no idea who the ad was for. The last scene showed me the bags. I came away only knowing that they had a sweepstakes. Nothing that compelled me to buy.

Pier 1, on the other hand, reminded me what compels us to buy. Something that speaks to us. Simple!

Lee Kent, Brings Retail Executives Together to Meet.Learn.Profit, RetailConnections

This was not easy. I was not overly impressed with either. TJX grabbed me more with the sound than the ad; although I am not sure what they wanted me to purchase.
I like Pier 1 but sadly, this ad does nothing for me. The mother sounded more like an actor than a mother out with her child. That was a turnoff for me.

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Ed Rosenbaum, CEO, The Customer Service Rainmaker, Rainmaker Solutions

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