Rives Rebrands H-E-B

Five new spots for the H.E. Butt Grocery Company show women having a great time in a setting not normally associated with fun: a food store.

The TV ads from Rives Carlberg are part of a rebranding effort specifically tailored to the Houston market, where the San Antonio-based grocer has spent nearly a decade positioning its H-E-B Pantry sites as low-cost, no-frills stores.

As the supermarket chain shifts directions—building more expansive, bright stores to compete with large competitors like Kroger—it wants to change its image as well.

Last March H-E-B assigned the Southeast Texas slice of its advertising account to Rives in Houston. The retailer wanted to take advantage of the shop’s extensive experience in that metro market. The Richards Group in Dallas remains the client’s lead agency.

Rives is positioning the food and drugstores as ideal supermarkets with low prices, quality products and an atmosphere that makes shopping a pleasure.

In its first effort, Rives used actual women customers to sell the highlights of what are known as the “big new H-E-Bs.”

“In focus groups there were certain categories women felt strongly about, so we themed each spot based on those hot buttons,” said Rives creative director Gayl Carlberg. The produce and meat departments are among those areas featured.

Three general-market 30-second commercials and two Spanish-language spots break locally on Wednesday, accompanied by radio, outdoor and print messages.