H. H. Gregg "H. H." (partially lost advertisements from American retail chain; 2009-2011)

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HhgreggAfterThanksgivingSale.png

A screenshot from one of the previously lost ads.

Status: Partially Lost

H. H. Gregg (stylized as "hhgregg") is an American then-retail chain, now-online store for home appliances and consumer electronics. From 2009 to 2011, the company used a mascot called HH (also referred to as "h.h.") for its TV commercials, radio spots and other media. After H. H. Gregg's revival in 2017 from filing for bankruptcy previously the same year, HH was briefly used again on the company's social media and website, although no new commercials were made using him.

HH has the appearance of a rolled-up H. H. Gregg newspaper with floating limbs similar in fashion to the video game character Rayman. The mascot was voice acted by Wally Wingert, who also played characters like Jon Arbuckle in The Garfield Show and Almighty Tallest Red in Invader Zim.[1] The television commercials mostly featured HH goofing around either inside or outside an H. H. Gregg store, announcing what the retailer has to offer. A common format within the commercials includes HH parodying classic songs, like The Twelve Days of Christmas. Another common format starts with HH checking out an item, before an H. H. Gregg employee steps in to boast about the item; all while HH listens in awe. These usually end with HH asking the employee: "...Am I supposed to know this stuff?" to which the employee answers: "No, we are, at H. H. Gregg!"

Two renders of HH.

The character was largely forgotten about after its original run, until 2015, when the Christmas in July Sale 2010 commercial gained attention from meme communities. The commercial features HH standing outside an H. H. Gregg store, singing to the melody of Deck the Halls about a Panasonic Blu-Ray player for $99, a 32-inch LCD TV for $299, and an LG 42-inch HDTV for $489. HH then gets hit by a snowball, which he in response asks: "A snowball in July?" before finishing his song. The commercial became commonly used in music mash-ups, such as one with the Daft Punk song Doin' It Right called "doin", which garnered more than half a million views on YouTube. Since gaining meme status, commercials starring HH became fairly sought after.

History

HH's character was made by Zimmerman Advertising and Hinge Digital.[2][3] H. H. Gregg tasked Zimmerman to "center a campaign around a new spokes-character, to increase the aided and unaided awareness measures." After Zimmerman drew the initial 2D HH designs, they were handed over to Hinge, who refined the character and created an animation test showing HH interacting in a live-action store environment. The HH campaign was then greenlit by H. H. Gregg.

H. H. Gregg's old blog post about the mascot's introduction.

The 2015-2017 H. H. Gregg website claimed that HH debuted in early 2009.[4] However, this appears to be inaccurate. The mascot was actually first announced on H. H. Gregg's blog on July 28th, 2009, stating that HH would be introduced "Wednesday afternoon" (the 29th).[5] A Facebook account for the mascot called "h.h. Sales Guide" was also created on the 27th. The account would post in-character messages, occasionally sending a YouTube video link for the latest commercials (however, the videos themselves are long since deleted).[6][7] On the 29th, the first HH commercial was posted, called the "20% Off Sale Commercial".[8] Sometime during 2010, the Facebook account would start posting more professional messages, and the account name was changed to simply "hhgregg".

HH's retirement can be linked to H. H. Gregg starting up another advertising campaign in May 2011 called "We Help" (although the first commercial without him was from as early as April).[9][10][11] HH was slowly phased out of the website during this time period and the YouTube account was also wiped.[12][13][14] No official statement on HH's retirement has been made by the company.

Availability

Interviews of Hinge and Zimmerman Advertising state that "over 34 spots" were created starring HH.[15] A newer interview from June 2011 says another production company, Blackbird VFX (named iGlooVFX at the time), created 5 additional commercials using HH during 2010, all already uploaded.[16]

HH also reportedly starred in radio spots. A user at CommercialsIHate.com claims to have heard a radio version of the Red Tag Sale 2009 commercial "about 12 times in the last 2 days."[17] It is unknown how many of these were made.

As of February 2020, most of the alleged 34+ TV commercials starring HH have been found. A handful of names of lost commercials have been identified by searching through H. H. Gregg's Facebook page and archived blog. Note that by the time HH was first introduced, H. H. Gregg was only available in 9 states; Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina and Tennessee; making the earlier commercials harder to find.[18] Virginia was later added by November 2009,[19] and Maryland, Pennsylvania and Mississippi were added by May 2010.[20]

Name Status Proof of Existence/Notes
12 Deals of Xmas Found (15-second version, 30-second version)
20% Off Sale #1/"On the Same Page" Found Facebook post for the ad.
20% Off Sale #2 Found (2010 version) Facebook post for the ad.
20% Off Sale #3/"I'm Stuffed" Found Facebook post from February 2010 for the ad. Also played during July 2010.
4th of July Sale 2010 Found Facebook post for the ad. Uses a generic animation.
After Thanksgiving Sale 2010 Found Uses the same animation as the Black Friday 2010 commercial.
Black Friday Sale 2010 Found
Christmas in July Sale 2010 Found
Christmas Sale 2009 Partially Found A rehash of the "Red Tag Sale 2009" ad with slightly different dialogue. ~8 seconds survive in an edited video.
Coupon Mania 2009 Lost Facebook post for the ad.
Employee Discount Found Created by iGlooVFX.
Frigidaire Affinity Washers & Dryers Found Blog post for the ad. Bad quality.
Grand Opening Found (Baltimore, MD version; Manassas, DC version)
Labor Day Sale 2010 Found Uses a generic animation.
Markdown Madness Sale August 1-7th 2010 Found Archived blog page with the post "hhgregg Mark it Down Storwide(sic) Savings". All Markdown Madness commercials use the same animation, with small changes made to the signs.
Markdown Madness Sale March 20-26th 2011 Found Facebook post for the ad.
Markdown Madness Sale March 21-27th 2010 Found Facebook post for the ad.
Markdown Madness Sale June 20-26th 2010 Found Facebook post for the ad.
Memorial Day Sale 2010 Found Facebook post for the ad. Uses a generic animation.
New 125th Store Found Created by iGlooVFX.
New Whirlpool Washer & Dryer Found Created by iGlooVFX.
New Year's Event\"Confetti Fantasy" Found Blog post for the ad.
Panasonic "Larger Than Life" HDTVs Found Bad quality.
Panasonic Viera 3D TV Found
Pre-Black Friday Savings 2010 Found Uses a different variation of the Black Friday 2010 commercial animation.
Presidents' Day 2010 Sale Lost Facebook post for the ad. Evidently different from the 2011 version, as the Facebook post implies HH is wearing a wig, while the 2011 version uses the same generic animation as the Labor Day 2010/4th of July 2010 commercials.
Presidents' Day 2011 Sale Found Uses a generic animation.
Private Sale - Lava Lamp Found Created by iGlooVFX. Possible Facebook post for the ad. The sale lasted for June 17-19th, 2010.
Private Sale - Newspaper Found
Private Sale - Spy Found
Private Sale - Unknown Lost Archived blog page with the post "Shhhhh! Don't share this with ANYONE!". The sale lasted for November 5-7th, 2009.
Red Tag Sale 2009 Found
Samsung Four Seasons of Hope Foundation Commercial Lost Facebook post for the ad.
Samsung LED TV HyperReal/"Play Call" Found
Serta Mattresses Found Created by iGlooVFX.
Sharp Quattron LED TV Found
Super Sale XLIV Lost Facebook post for the ad.
Super Sale XLV Found (15-second version, 30-second version)
Tent Sale 2010 Lost Facebook post for the ad.
Whirlpool Cabrio Mark It Down Found Facebook post for the ad.
Whirlpool Side-by-Side XXL Refridgerator Found

Gallery

TV banner ad for H. H. Gregg's "Red Tag Sale" which uses HH.

External Link

References

  1. Wally Wingert's page on all his voice-overs. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  2. Liaison PR News Room's article about Zimmerman's & Hinge's creation of HH. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  3. Hinge's page on the HH campaign. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  4. H. H. Gregg's old "History" page. Archived 02 May '17
  5. H. H. Gregg's "You've Never Met a Sales Guide Like hh" blog article. Archived 06 Aug '09
  6. HH's first Facebook post. Retrieved 06 Aug '09
  7. H. H. Gregg's blog article about their commercials on YouTube. Archived 25 Mar '10
  8. HH's Facebook post about his first commercial. Retrieved 06 Aug '09
  9. H. H. Gregg's Facebook post with behind-the-scenes photos of the "We Help" commercials. Retrieved 04 Aug '19
  10. The New York Times article about the "We Help" campaign. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  11. One of the commercials used for the "We Help" campaign. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  12. H. H. Gregg's Facebook post about their new website. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  13. H. H. Gregg's YouTube, around the time HH first appeared. Archived 08 Aug '09
  14. H. H. Gregg's YouTube, after "We Help" was launched. Archived 21 May '11
  15. Hinge's blog article further explaining HH's creation and success. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  16. BlackbirdVFX's page about their HH commercials. Archived 12 Jan '18
  17. CommercialsIHate.com thread about the HH commercials. Retrieved 06 Aug '19
  18. H. H. Gregg's press release from July 29th, 2009. Archived 03 Dec '09
  19. H. H. Gregg's press release from November 18th, 2009. Archived 02 Dec '09
  20. H. H. Gregg's press release from May 3rd, 2010. Archived 31 Aug '10