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Special Project

Special Project
From the 13th Annual Shorty Awards

Holiday Even Brighter - H-E-B's Holiday Campaign

Entered in Multi-Platform Campaign, Integrated Campaign, Multi-Platform Campaign


2020 was tough  - but the Texas spirit is tougher, and there's nothing more Texan than H-E-B, a much beloved grocery store and brand focused on making the lives of Texans better since 1905. As the holiday season of 2020 grew near, H-E-B was determined to be the light at the end of the tunnel - helping, inspiring and empowering Texans to "Holiday Even Brighter". 

From tighter budgets, lighter guest lists, first-time feast-making, and together time apart, H-E-B's campaign centered around sparking joy deep in the heart of every Texan big or small, near or far. Holiday Even Brighter was a multi-platform, fully integrated marketing campaign with two key strategic paths, with the "inspirational" path involving daily joy.

H-E-B worked with Texas stars and celebrities like James Van Der Beek, Mickey Guyton, Candace Cameron Bure, Tiffani Thiessen, Camila Alves McConaughey, Alex Bregman and more to share their holiday traditions in video form, allowing H-E-B customers access into these stars' lives. H-E-B also worked with influencers spanning the state, creating content that resonated with many audiences and communities. 

The inspirational track built brand equity, empowering customers to have the holidays they desired with the help of H-E-B, showing new ways to celebrate traditions safely.

Strategy and Execution

H-E-B's strategy came from the moment where the Whos of Whoville gather the morning after the Grinch stole Christmas, and lifted their voices with the holiday spirit. That moment was recreated in each aspect of the campaign based on insights and data derived from qualitative and quantitative customer data, searches and insights - providing the right deals at the right time to the right people as budgets were tighter than ever, or granting moments of joy each day for families looking for new ways to celebrate the holiday season. Just like the Grinch, COVID-19 took a lot, but it couldn’t steal the joy of the season. 

Functional: H-E-B created content that solved customer’s need states. With Director Mix (YouTube), H-E-B targeted unique personas - identifying customer need states and creating 270+ videos in that campaign. These videos were served to customers who didn’t hand-raise, but whose signals indicated the right mindset for each set of targeted creative. These ads were deployed across YouTube, with top-performing creative used for broader audiences on Facebook.

Inspirational: H-E-B's inspirational track included several executions, rooted in helping Texans Holiday Even Brighter. H-E-B worked with YouTube and Pinterest to identify trends and spiking micro-moments, creating content to be delivered via keyword targeting and YouTube Discovery   - ensuring H-E-B provided an answer/inspiration for customer needs. With topics like “how to take a pet portrait”, “Thanksgiving meal for two”, or the trending “Hot Cocoa Bombs”, hundreds of pieces of customer-driven content was created, and served to Texans where they were searching for answers and inspiration.

H-E-B also created an advent calendar of content on, and each day showcased a new YouTube video – from an exclusive Nutcracker performance from the San Antonio Ballet to GRAMMY-nominated Country Music Star Mickey Guyton singing an acapella carol, to influencers and celebs like Tiffani Thiessen showing you how to cook and decorate in this year’s new normal - with a holiday surprise from new Texan James Van Der Beek.

With customers not being able to go out and capture holiday memories, H-E-B created more online magic. Any other year, families would sit on Santa's lap, travel to grandma's house to play in the snow, or attend a downtown tree lighting. With those traditions cancelled, H-E-B used the innovation of AR to enable Texans to capture those memories through the creation of three AR experiences, which included bringing Santa to life. Customers could access the AR experiences in stores on signage, or digitally. In addition, H-E-B created a series of "light-streams", including a live Christmas Tree Lighting, which allowed Texans to experience their traditions safe at home. 

H-E-B launched a series of free, live virtual cooking classes to help Texans who may be hosting the holidays the first time ever with live two-way dialogue with H-E-B chefs. Customers could sign up for a free virtual class and ask chefs questions about how to make the perfect pie crust or how to stuff a turkey – and be answered on air.


H-E-B's leadership often says, "we're a people company, we just happen to sell groceries." This brand truth shined bright during the holiday season of 2020. Through the Holiday Even Brighter campiagn, the Texas grocery store delivered on it's promise to inspire and enable Texans to celebrate the season despite the year's challenges.

The influencer portion of the campiagn lended credibility and relatibility to the storytelling, having Texans show other Texans how to celebrate their unique traditions in an untraditional time. Producing hundreds of data-driven, customer-centric, influencer content, this portion of the campaign contributed more than 65M impressions with a benchmark beating 49.3% view through rate of content averaging 1.5 - 3 minutes in length. 

The overall campaign resulted in 529M impressions, reaching 10.9M Texans  with fresh and hyper-relevant content throughout the holiday season as well as an average view through rate of 48%. The campiagn came to life through traditional broadcast, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook/Instagram, Influencer channels and even private cooking classes garnering more than 28M YouTube video views. 

H-E-B believes in it's motto of "Because People Matter" and the holiday season of 2020 was no exception through its campaign to help Texas Holiday Even Brighter. 


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