H-E-B

To attract more customers over the winter holiday season, H-E-B ran Instagram and Facebook ads with fun, interactive augmented reality filters and saw a 6-point lift in ad recall.

THE STORY
Serving Texans since 1905

H-E-B is a privately held supermarket chain based in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 340 stores throughout the state. Founded in 1905, H-E-B today offers a wide range of categories including grocery, bakery, deli/food service, pharmacy, produce, floral, meat and seafood departments.

6-point

lift in ad recall

9.6-point

lift in ad recall among people aged 45–54

3.1-point

higher purchase intent from AR filter campaign, compared to a simultaneous non-AR holiday campaign

60%

decrease in cost per incremental ad recall, compared to holiday 2019 campaign

H-E-B constantly strives to be the store that not only does more, but also aims to be a leader that moves the supermarket/grocery industry forward. That’s why the augmented reality work was so important to us, because it allowed us to simultaneously brighten our shoppers’ holidays and insert innovation into an industry that can be overly reliant on traditional engagement tactics.
CALLIE GRANT, DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER, H-E-B
THE GOAL
Bringing holiday joy

With a winter shopping season impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, H-E-B wanted to create some Texas-sized holiday magic to make it easier for shoppers to find joy during the holidays—in H-E-B store aisles and at home.

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THE SOLUTION
Focusing on the customer experience

H-E-B wanted to run an innovative ad campaign that could spark a little more joy during an unprecedented winter holiday shopping season. So H-E-B teamed with Facebook to identify creative ways of incorporating AR elements to spice up the ad campaign and enable people to get excited about the holidays while shopping safely in-store or from home.

H-E-B’s internal team built a series of fun Facebook and Instagram photo and video ads, and then partnered with the agency Groove Jones, who built AR filters. The aim was to brighten the shopping experience for customers, while also showing that H-E-B is a leader in innovation.

H-E-B showed these ads to people living in Texas aged 16 and over in a variety of placements, including: Facebook and Instagram feed; Facebook, Instagram and Messenger Stories; Instagram Explore; Instant Articles; and In-Stream Auction. H-E-B enlisted its agency Adaptly, a Facebook Marketing partner, to run the campaign media.

THE CREATIVE
Brightening the holidays

H-E-B’s ad campaign, called “Holiday Even Brighter,” used three AR filter experiences:

  1. A digitally re-imagined photo-op with Santa, with text overlays: “What if…this year Santa came to you?” After someone swiped up on the ad, their camera opened and the AR filter loaded, enabling the viewer to snap a selfie with Santa using the front-facing camera.

  2. A second ad asked: “What if…Your Living Room Was In a Snow Globe?” and “Swipe Up to Unlock Even More Holly Jolly!” A swipe opened the device’s camera and loaded the AR filter that showed the viewer inside a giant snow globe with snowflakes falling all around.

  3. A third ad included the text overlay: “Transform Texas into a Winter Wonderland.” When viewers tapped on a Christmas gift, the back-facing camera opened and the AR filter showed a Christmas tree forest with a gingerbread sheriff, a snowy coyote and a gingerbread Alamo.

All ads included a “Learn More” button that linked to the company’s website.

To engage with in-store shoppers, H-E-B placed QR codes on products—such as Christmas tree tags, holiday pies, recipe cards and more—as well as on printed signage store-wide. When scanned, the AR filters opened on Instagram, and people could see and enjoy the same three scenes and AR experiences.

H-E-B measured the results of the December 11–31, 2020 campaign using a Facebook brand lift study, which revealed that using fun AR filters drove a:

  • 6-point lift in ad recall

  • 9.6-point lift in ad recall among people aged 45-54

  • 3.1-point higher purchase intent from AR filter campaign, compared to a simultaneous non-AR holiday campaign

  • 60% decrease in cost per incremental ad recall, compared to holiday 2019 campaign

In a normal year, families would wait in line to get a child’s photo taken sitting on Santa's lap, travel to grandma's house to play in the snow or attend a downtown tree lighting. With those traditions cancelled, our Facebook and Instagram ad campaign using AR filters enabled Texans to still celebrate the spirit of the season and capture those memories.
GIOVANNA DIMPERIO, DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MARKETING, H-E-B