H-E-B’s reusable bag causes fashion frenzy
H-E-B on Friday drew long lines and a quick sellout for a surprise limited-edition item. No, it wasn’t some ultra-hyped designer collaboration that drew the crowds. The item was a $2.00 reusable tote bag featuring two iconic photos of Selena, the late singer who ranks as one of the most celebrated entertainers in Mexican-American and Hispanic communities in the U.S.
One side of the recyclable bag featured a black-and-white photo of Selena singing, the other another iconic photo of the Texas legend adorned with the words “Queen of Cumbia” in bold, pink lettering.
H-E-B first revealed the collection on its Facebook page last Wednesday with the reveal including a video featuring Regina Garcia, spokesperson for H-E-B, and Suzette Quintanilla-Arriaga, Selena’s sister. H-E-B donated $25,000 to the Selena Foundation, and partial proceeds from the bag sales went to the Boys and Girls Club of the Coastal Bend.
The bags went on sale at 9 a.m. on Friday at select locations and online. Long lines arrived before the openings. Each store reportedly sold a few hundred bags each. Lines snaking around H-E-B’s aisles found their way to social media, and many locations reportedly were sold out within 15 minutes. The retailer’s website crashed due to high volume during the day. By 4:15 p.m., H-E-B announced that the bags had all sold out.
The bags were soon found selling on eBay at asking prices of up to $75, and numerous consumers complained to H-E-B on its Facebook page about their challenges purchasing the item.
Department stores have come out with tote bags supporting various causes over the years, but this appears to be the first time a grocer has come out with a limited-edition charity bag. Reusable bags only began arriving at grocers in the mid-to-late 2000s. Many grocers still don’t sell reusable bags, although Whole Foods and Publix are among the few that regularly update their bag offerings with seasonal varieties.
- Limited-Edition Selena Bag Sold Out – H-E-B
- SelenayHEB – YouTube
- H-E-B – Facebook
- Shop with the Queen of Cumbia: H-E-B to release Selena Quintanilla-themed tote bags – Corpus Christi Caller Times
- H-E-B’s Selena bags sell out at South Texas stores, online sales surge – Corpus Christi Caller Times
- As expected, lines wrap around San Antonio H-E-B locations for Selena bags – My San Antonio
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is H-E-B’s limited-edition, charity bag a program the grocery channel should look to build on? What other marketing opportunities do you see for reusable shopping bags?