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From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

H-E-B - Grilling Open

Finalist in Facebook

Entered in Live Video

About this entry

In Texas, grilling is more than a tradition – it’s a way of life. Texans know there’s nothing better than the sweet sound of sizzle from a hot grill cookin’ up your favorites. In the summers, we live for the char that can only come from an open flame. To kick-off the summer grilling season, H-E-B held the first ever H-E-B Grilling Open, a 12-hour shoppable livestream for our customers. Facebook launched its Live Shopping feature mere weeks before the event, so H-E-B (Texas’ #1 grocery store) grabbed the charcoal by the bag, and created an engaging, entertaining, and drool-worthy experience complete with celebrity hosts, chef commentators, and of course, prizes. We set out to capture the attention of Texans, delight with an innovative experience, and ultimately remind customers that H-E-B is your number one destination for all things summer grilling.

Why does this entry deserve to win?

Everything is bigger in Texas. Naturally, when we had the “what if” moment to create a shoppable livestream celebrating all things grilling, we thought why not 12 hours?

So, how do you keep people engaged from breakfast to dinner when society's attention span is that of a goldfish? You take one of Texas’ other favorite pastimes - sports - and bring the two together. We designed the Grilling Open to reflect that of a tournament. Imagine the Final Four or The Masters, but substitute athletes for grillmasters.

From meat to seafood, savory to sweet, H-E-B Partners from across the company shared tips, tricks, wisdom and drool-worthy meals with our customers on YouTube, Facebook and The event featured H-E-B’s Culinary team; the who’s who of Texas BBQ, co-hosts like Jess Pryles of Hardcore Carnivore, Eddie Jackson, NFL Star and Chief Recipe Officer of the Texas Beef Council; and the H-E-B team of expert buyers. 

Once again, to take it a step further, we invited special Texas celebrities to join us from their homes and show how they get their grill on. Each celebrity engaged viewers with trivia to execute 13 LIVE giveaways. Texas celebrities included James Van Der Beek, Olympian Nastia Liukin, Texas country stars Aaron Watson and Randy Rogers, Camila Alves McConaughey, and more. 

In addition to hosting a 12-hour livestream, we utilized Facebook’s new Live Shopping feature to give customers instant access to the products on screen. Products were pre-selected for a curated playlist that an H-E-B Partner manually activated throughout the day. 

To drive excitement and awareness for the event, we employed Spirable’s dynamic countdown ads on Facebook and Instagram, as well as YouTube Masthead and Bumper ads, Facebook and Instagram in-feed ads, and organic social. To expand the audience further, we utilized our special guest’s social platforms and communities to invite all of Texas to join us virtually for a day.

The task of creating a livestream that was a mix of both pre-recorded and live footage was no easy feat. We spent over 20 hours filming our culinary athletes prepping, grilling, and plating over 100 different H-E-B products, which required over 40 hours of video editing to weave the story of the Grilling Open. In between our pre-recorded and live segments, we included commercial breaks to showcase more areas of our business, and highlight our culinary team.


Our main goal of the H-E-B Grilling Open was to capture the attention of Texans, and solidify the claim that H-E-B is the number one destination for all things grilling. During the 12-hour stream, over 160,000 people joined, with viewers watching for an average of ten minutes! The Facebook live event saw a combined reach of over 1MM, close to half of the platforms overall reach for the campaign with an engagement rate close to 25%-which was 3% higher than overall platform performance as it was a centerpiece of the campaign and was able to build up momentum based on support from other platforms. During the livestream, our YouTube Masthead reached 3.5M Texans and drove 109,000 clicks to the stream. We featured over 100 unique, distinctive H-E-B products and showcased our world class culinary team’s skills to provide our customers new ideas for their summer barbecues. 

The H-E-B grilling open remains the longest shoppable livestream on Facebook executed in the whole U.S. - that’s a whole lot of fajitas. 


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