The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 15th Annual Shorty Awards

H-E-B DFW Market Entry: Immersive Dining Experience

Finalist in Micro-Influencer Strategy

Entered in Event & Experiential, Launch Campaign, Single Post or Activation


WHEN IS H-E-B COMING TO DFW?! For decades, this was the main question that the Texas grocer H-E-B received. Then... it happened.

In 2022, H-E-B made a historic announcement that they were opening flagship stores in DFW. Research showed DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) to be one of if not THE most competitive grocery markets in the country. Its community is an ever-changing marketplace with a surge of new citizens as well as Texans who experienced H-E-B in other regions of the state. Additionally, research exhibited that changing customers’ grocery store loyalties would be a challenge. We needed to introduce ourselves in a major, impactful way.

- Introduce the major pillars that differentiate and represent H-E-B

- Showcase H-E-B's commitment to quality and assortment

- Win over key community leaders, influencers, and customers

- Build excitement for the first, DFW flagship store's opening day

- Illustrate H-E-B's commitment and excitement to the community it's joining

Strategy and Execution

H-E-B (recently named by Dunnhumby as the US' top grocer) is synonymous with Texas because it's truly part of its communities. Customers don't say they are going "to H-E-B," but rather "MY H-E-B". Each store is designed for the community it serves and every H-E-B brand product are created for Texas tastes. H-E-B knew that in order to win over the hearts of DFW customers, it needed to bring the "MY H-E-B" mentality to these new markets in the best way it knows how - through food. 

H-E-B created a once-in-a-lifetime, immersive culinary experience encompassing seven courses, each representing a different pillar of H-E-B, transporting each diner with every course by igniting every sense. However, the team continued to say "this must be more than a dinner. It must be an experience." And it was. Hosted in a screen surround, the 360° video footage was exclusively shot at each source from the H-E-B melon farms in the valley to the shrimp-rich beaches of the Gulf Coast. The footage, directed live, accompanied a DJ that, together, blended the beautiful scenery of sourced food with house music infused with natural sounds (ex. bees buzzing, wind blowing) to transport diners.

Highlighting one of courses, Harvest featured corn served three-ways to reflect a singular ingredient that H-E-B offers in a variety of unique styles across stores. A custom scent, designed to smell like the cornfields of Hondo, was shared to diners for an olfactory immersion before tasting the corn itself. Meanwhile, the room transformed to reflect the course, captivating diners visually and audibly into the world of corn, the centralized ingredient of the dish. H-E-B's renowned chef, Scott Tompkins, guided diners through their experience, explaining the meaning of the dish as it related to a fundamental pillar of H-E-B.

Given the scale of the event, it was imperative to invite the right target–shoppers that would consider the new store as their own “MY H-E-B” and become loyal brand customers. The guestlist included local civic leaders, micro-influencers, and customers that fit within two sets: those who knew us and those who did not... yet. The blended guestlist reflected the DFW market and positioned H-E-B as THE new, community-centric grocer for a diverse set of customers.

To build excitement for the event, the invitations employed a custom augmented reality filter on Instagram, matching the upcoming immersive video experience. Diners also received a bag of featured H-E-B products and access to a custom landing page, built exclusively for guests, to recreate the courses at home as the firsts to have H-E-B products offered in the DFW store. From the invitation to the gift bags, the dinner was truly an immersive experience for our newest customers. 


Over 240 local civic leaders, influencers, and customers dined with H-E-B to experience for themselves what makes the brand beloved, Texas favorite and get excited for their own "MY H-E-B!” Guests posted from the event, creating a wealth of organic shares and impressions. Influencers and Partners in the DFW market cited the H-E-B immersive dinner as the talk of Frisco and Plano, creating invaluable buzz. Over 1500 customers lined up, wrapping around the store overnight, in excitement for the flagship, Frisco grand opening!

The event was an incredible success–achieving further hype and excitement towards the expansion of H-E-B into new, DFW communities and the hearts of more Texans. H-E-B President Craig Boyan says, "we're a people company - we just happen to sell groceries." And now we are proud to do so in North Texas.


Video for H-E-B DFW Market Entry: Immersive Dining Experience

Entrant Company / Organization Name


Entry Credits