H-E-B Throws 2020 Grads Virtual Celebration

Jacqueline Barba
Associate Editor, Path to Purchase Institute
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H-E-B held a “Texas-sized” virtual graduation ceremony on May 20 for high school and college seniors stuck watching their commencement ceremony from their homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The live celebration (view below) aired on H-E-B’s YouTube channel at 7 p.m. CDT and featured appearances from dozens of celebrities offering congratulations and encouragement, including entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban, Houston Texans fullback Cullen Gillaspia and singer Maren Morris, who closed the show with a musical performance that was only viewable live.

In addition, H-E-B ran a graduation sweepstakes awarding 200 seniors with a $500 Visa gift card ($100,000 total). Seniors entered by sharing what their graduation looked like this year on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtags #HEBGraduation and #Sweepstakes. The sweeps closed on May 21. Social media updates as well as a static graduation web page within supported the efforts while also highlighting graduation essentials including graduation cakes and party trays, which H-E-B pointed out are available for curbside pickup.

Features in multiple circulars (which are currently running at two to three pages long due to the COVID-19 pandemic) also supported while additionally plugging its customizable graduation cakes available for pre-order in stores. A QR code encourages shoppers to browse designs "at home or on the go" and directs to a digital version of H-E-B's 2020 graduation cake catalog.

Walgreens also helped celebrate graduating seniors this year with help from singer Bebe Rexha.