Ralf Heuel






Never before has New York Festivals assembled an Executive Jury panel of this magnitude and executive level. The 2018 Executive Jury, is an elite dream team of Global Chief Creative Officers and C-Suite creative executives. Words like iconic, visionary, accomplished and influential, come to mind when describing these prominent award-winning creative leaders.  This April they will assemble in New York City for 4 days of live judging across all mediums—one panel of advertising giants, 30+ strong, all coming together to select the World’s Best Advertising®.

2081 Grand Jury member Ralf Heuel, brings 30 years’ experience in the advertising industry to the jury panel.  As CCO and Partner at Grabarz & Partner in Hamburg – the agency he cofounded as a Junior Copywriter in 1993. he made the agency one of the most creative locations in the country, in the process repeatedly propelling Grabarz & Partner into the top five of the most creative German agencies.

Under his creative leadership, Grabarz & Partner became the first independent agency ever to acquire a large portion of the German Volkswagen account in 2001. Heuel has now been developing the advertising for IKEA Germany – the most important market for the Swedish furniture store – for more than 25 years. Today, 300 employees are today responsible for the domestic and international accounts of Grabarz & Partner, which include Volkswagen, Porsche, IKEA, Burger King, EURONICS, and Melitta.

His agency has received numerous accolades and honors including 2017 Grabarz & Partner was Germany’s most successful independent agency at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and voted Eurobest’s ‘International Independent Agency of the Year’. In 2013 and in 2017, Grabarz & Partner was named by British magazine Campaign as one of ‘The World’s Leading Independent Agencies’ and named ‘agency of the year’ in 2015 by w&v magazine. In the same year Grabarz & Partner was ranked as the number 1 creative agency in Germany by w&v and HORIZONT, and the most decorated German agency at several international award shows. In 2016, the magazine HORIZONT named him and the other managing directors of the agency as the ‘Men and Women of the Year’ in the Agencies category.

Being a Juror:

New York Festivals: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?

Ralf Heuel: It is an honor to be invited to discuss the best of advertising the world has to offer with so many great minds on the jury. I am confident that I will learn a lot from this experience.

Working in Advertising:

New York Festivals: What’s an idea you were excited about, but just couldn’t carry out because of logistics?

Ralf Heuel: When I was a junior copywriter, my team partner and I were tasked to develop a recruitment ad for the agency. Our headline was: "Grabarz & Partner is looking for art directors who are prepared to give everything they have to their job." The accompanying image we had in mind was a severed ear on a desk at the agency. And so, we set off on our mission to source a human ear. Funnily enough, the hospitals and mortuaries we visited were not so keen on our Van-Gogh-inspired idea. What a surprise.

Favorite Ads:

New York Festivals: Share an ad you are particularly proud of.

Ralf Heuel: I always try my very best to produce work that I can be proud of. And sometimes it works out. This was definitely the case with “The blind photographer” for the Volkswagen Arteon.


Creative Leadership:

New York Festivals: What do you look for when hiring new talent?

Ralf Heuel: Passion, curiosity, and stamina.

This and That:

New York Festivals: Who do you admire as a creative icon and why?

Ralf Heuel: I can't help but admire Lee Clow based on what he went through in his life and everything he was able to achieve. Not to mention the type of person he still managed to be throughout it all.

New York Festivals: How do you manage to balance your high-powered job with your family, hobbies, and life outside of-work on the whole? If so, how do you do it? Can you let us in on any secrets?

Ralf Heuel: Buy yourself a classic Porsche 911 and find some nice winding roads out in the country. Trust me – it helps.

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