The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Pier 1 Imports vs. TJX Companies

Discussion
Sources: TJX - "Dating"; Pier 1 - "Gifts For Your #teacheraide"
Dec 05, 2018
George Anderson

The voters have been clear: Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target have racked up big margin victories for the first three weeks of the 2018 RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge. This week puts Pier 1 Imports up against TJX Companies and its corporate branding spots for HomeGoods, Marshalls and namesake banner.

Both companies have taken a similar approach in developing creative that spotlights product selection and prices that are tailored to meet their customers’ specific gifting needs.

Pier 1 Imports has kept its messaging short and sweet with 15-second spots that address what gifts to buy for people such as teacher aides, garbage collectors, mail delivery people, yoga instructors, et al.

TJX has, likewise, created its own series of 15-second spots to speak to its ability to find the right gifts for all the people on your Christmas list.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of the Christmas campaigns from Pier 1 Imports and TJX Companies? Which retailer does a better job of connecting with its core customers while reaching out to new shoppers with its Christmas spots?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is a very interesting comparison of two very similar approaches to holiday advertising! "
"Two completely different strategies with different expected goals and KPIs."
"Both ads would give me a reason to shop the brand however Pier 1 gives me a reason to even watch the ad."

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13 Comments on "The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge: Pier 1 Imports vs. TJX Companies"


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Charles Dimov
BrainTrust

Pier 1 does a great job of capturing interest. It makes you think — and the rollout of a series makes you want to see all the different renditions. But TJX hits it from a practicality perspective. It isn’t nearly as captivating but shows me some of the products that I might actually consider for my secret Santa gifting. My vote is on the practical approach — as I think that might persuade me to come into the store to pick out that item.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

I give this one to TJX Companies. The Pier 1 ad wastes too many valuable seconds of media time on an awkward hug that’s neither attractive nor positive. And when we finally get a bit of a view of what’s been bought, it is not clear and not interesting.

TJX does a better job of showing examples and moving straight into message. (That said, if a boss is picky about coffee, I don’t know why we would ever expect to find coffee to impress them at TJX.)

Overall, the TJX spot will draw more people to the store and have a better impact (short AND long term).

Phil Masiello
BrainTrust

TJX did a much better job of speaking to a variety of customers, some that would not think of TJX. Toys, for example, is not a core competency and will probably drive incremental customers. Focusing on the $20 Secret Santa solution was a smart move to show value.

The Pier 1 Imports spots did not speak to me. Using this method in one spot was OK. But creating multiple spots with the same theme was a bit creepy. I think they could have been a bit more creative in expressing that you can find the perfect gift at Pier 1 rather than this hugging spot.

Overall I think TJX will ultimately reach new customers with their spots.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

It is good that Pier 1 is highlighting its range of gifting items. It is not a retailer that many consumers naturally associate with gifting, especially around the holidays. That said, I find the spots a bit bland.

TJX follows a similar theme – setting itself up as a place you can find appropriate gifts for different people. Its advertisements are a bit more fun than Pier 1’s. As such, my vote goes to TJX.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

This is a very interesting comparison of two very similar approaches to holiday advertising! While I think the Pier 1 spots are likely more effective at at capturing attention than the TJX ads, I am not convinced the Pier 1 ads are effective messaging vehicles. On the other hand, Ellie Kemper’s enthusiastic voice overs on the TJX spots have great energy and the spots do a pretty good job of conveying the value proposition. I think I will give Ellie and TJX the nod this time.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

Six great spots. However, my tie breaker is the specific gifts shown in the TJX spots which provide viable solutions to TJX holiday shoppers’ dilemmas.

Michael Decker
BrainTrust

Two completely different strategies with different expected goals and KPIs. The Pier 1 spots build the Pier 1 brand with comedy. They are seeking to enter the “holiday consideration set” and drive like-minded shoppers into their stores for great gifts. At the same time, they convey an attitude for the brand — making their gifts “cool” for both the gifter and the giftee. TJX serves up promotional ads that are price/value oriented. They do not elevate TJX but instead rely on the actual products being showcased as the draw. The problem with that is the hit-or-miss appeal of the featured products. I personally think Pier 1’s is the superior long term strategy for retail success.

Lee Kent
BrainTrust

The two ad series were so similar in concept that its hard to spot the differences. If Pier 1 had not said “Pier 1” in the end, i might even have mixed them up. Both ads would give me a reason to shop the brand however Pier 1 gives me a reason to even watch the ad. The hug as the opener, although awkward, makes me curious about the ad. So my 2 cents goes to Pier 1.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

TJX wins, and not because their commercials are particularly creative. They do, however, offer gift ideas and let the viewer know throughout the spot who the ad is for.

The Pier 1 commercials are… how do I say this nicely? Lame. And kind of cringeworthy. They are so far from Pier 1’s branding that you have no idea who the ads are for until the end of the spot. TV creatives are trying so hard to outdo each other this season that the ads are missing the point.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

While the Pier 1 ads are funny with the awkward hug, I don’t think it will drive much traffic to their stores for holiday shopping. The TJX Companies ads do a great job of sparking ideas for gifts and increase the awareness of their brands as a destination for holiday gifts.

Many people may not think of the TJX retail brands for gift shopping, so featuring great gift ideas may increase the number of consumers that add these stores to their list of destinations for holiday shopping. The TJX ads are the winner in this challenge!

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

First let me give out “Thank you!” ribbons — no hugs, please — to both for offering “get-to-the-point” spots … yes I’ve had my fill of epic ads that Tolstoy could have scripted.

As for the main prize: TJX; and not really even close. The Pier 1 spots quickly crossed over from amusing to silly (at least with the garbageman offering).

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

TJX gets my nod this week. They did more than Pier 1 getting the message across in a short time. Pier 1 took too long to let us know who the ad was promoting.

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

The problem with Pier 1 is you don’t know who the present is for and the hug is both too long and not required. TJX identifies and solves a problem — a much stronger and clearer message.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is a very interesting comparison of two very similar approaches to holiday advertising! "
"Two completely different strategies with different expected goals and KPIs."
"Both ads would give me a reason to shop the brand however Pier 1 gives me a reason to even watch the ad."

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