An occasional feature spotlighting great (and most often terrible) local advertising.
Today’s entry comes from a major advertiser you have probably never heard of, and features the star players from and NBA team you probably never watch.
The Advertiser: H-E-B
Originally Known As: Butt Grocery Company. (The H. E. comes from Howard E., son of the original founder Florence Butt. You can see why initials are preferable to the name Butt for an outfit that sells food.)
Located: 340 stores throughout Texas
The Slogan: “Here everything’s better” The Product: H-E-B Prime 1 steaks
Described by the proprietor as: “H-E-B Prime 1 Beef is graded USDA Prime. That means it’s the top 2% of all U.S. Beef. The abundant marbling means superior juiciness. H-E-B Prime 1 Beef is also aged for a minimum of 14 days for supurb [sic] tenderness.”
Look, they might not know how to spell superb in Texas, but those people know a lot about steaks, and the grilling thereof. To show off the beef, H-E-B pulled out all the stops. The San Antonio-based grocer, which is sort of like a Texan Wegman’s both in physical presence and brand loyalty, has enlisted the talents of their home town basketball team, the Spurs. And unlike this local Ford dealer, they actually have the Spurs’ good players under contract to pitch their stores.
The ad features Tony Parker as the dapper BBQ host, with the Spurs’ mascot, The Coyote*, manning the grill. See for yourself:
Manu Ginobili isn’t on the list. Neither is Tim Duncan. But of course Gregg Popovich waltzes right in. Fantastic.
Aside from the comedy in the ad, aren’t you a little curious about the voiceover? “H-E-B’s Prime 1 steaks, cut fresh in store by certified meat cutters. Only at H-E-B.” Certified meat cutters, now those are the guys you want cutting your meat! Don’t be so sure the fellow butchering your cow at some other store is up to the task unless you see his certification. And just think about the selling proposition here. They are not saying this is particularly great meat from some superlative cows. For all you know they could be bringing this stuff in on a truck from Mexico. But you should know it’s well cut!
H-E-B has been featuring the Spurs in ads for some time. Here’s another great steak spot in which Kawhi Leonard joins in the fun. And here he is again showing off his enormous hands. * Ever since the Spurs started winning titles in the early 2000s, talking heads have declared the team boring, the players uninteresting, etc. San Antonio, despite being the second largest city in Texas, isn’t exactly a hopping scene. And Tim Duncan’s just being a great player isn’t enough to get people excited about him. Fine enough. But the team isn’t doing themselves any favors with this dull mascot. Really, they couldn’t even come up with a name? Jimmy or Frank or Stu, something like that? Nope, it’s just Coyote. Lame.