Image of Jason Xenopoulos
Jury

Jason Xenopoulos
Chief Vision Officer & Chief Creative Officer
VML Global & VML EMEA

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA // Jason is a creative entrepreneur whose media ventures have spanned all areas of the industry from film and television to music, advertising and the Internet. he currently holds the position of Global Chief Vision Officer at VML (a leading marketing agency ranked 3rd on the AdAge Agency A-List) and Chief Creative Officer of VML, EMEA.

After graduating from New York University with an honours degree in Film and Television, Jason founded VWV Interactive in 1994, which rapidly grew to be South Africa’s leading web development company. When Primedia acquired a stake in VWV Jason joined the Primedia Group where he was instrumental in driving Primedia's $150 million acquisition of Ster-Kinekor. As co-founder and CEO of Primedia Pictures between 1997 and 1998, Jason was involved in the development and production of various feature film projects including Boesman & Lena, starring Danny Glover and Angela Basset.

From 1998 to 2000 Jason held the position of CEO at Metropolis Transactive, an Internet Media company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the youngest CEO of a company so listed.

In 2001, Jason completed his first feature film as writer-director, Promised Land, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win several international awards including: The Best Feature Film award at the Apollo Film Festival; The Best Screenplay Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival; The Best Editing award at FESPACO in Burkina Faso; Best Picture Editing and Best Sound Design from The South African Guild of Editors and a Special Mention at the African Cinema Festival in Milan. In addition to his work as a feature film director, Jason has directed a host of award-winning TV commercials for leading brands such as Johnny Walker, Guinness, Caltex, MTN, Pick n Pay, Unilever, Bells & J&B. The most striking of these commercial productions was an audacious piece of Branded Entertainment for Guinness called Critical Assignment (2004). One of the first brand-funded feature films ever made, Critical Assignment went on to win the Jury Award at the Hollywood Black Film Festival and the award for Best West African Picture at the Screen National Film & TV Awards in London. Critical Assignment was selected as the Opening Night Screening at the 11th New York African Film Festival.

From 2004 – 2007, Jason held the position of Executive Creative Director at Y&R South Africa where he played an instrumental role in winning several major accounts. In 2008, he co-founded 2.0 Media, a Branded Entertainment Agency, where he served as Chief Creative Officer.

Jason ranked in the Top 5 Most Highly Awarded film directors at the 2010 Loerie Awards Festival where he won Campaign Gold and Campaign Silver awards. The following year he snapped up the highly-coveted Bookmark 2011 award for Best individual contribution to SA Digital Media and Marketing. In 2013, NATIVE VML was named "Agency of the Year" at the IAB Bookmark Awards and Jason was a finalist in the African Chapter of the presitgious Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Awards. That same year, under his leadership, NATIVE joined forces with VML, one of the world’s leading digital agency networks, to form NATIVE VML, the first digital agency network of its kind in Africa.

Over the past 5 years, under Jason’s creative leadership, NATIVE VML has won a host of local and international awards. In 2014, it ranked in the Top 5 Large Agencies at the Loerie Awards and Jason was the 2nd most awarded Creative Director at the show. In 2015 he won “All Africa Entrepreneur of the Year” at the annual CNBC All Africa Business Leaders Awards, which honours remarkable leadership and salutes game changers of business on the continent. At the Cannes Lions Festival 2016 NATIVE VML won campaign Gold, Silver, and Bronze Lions, catapulting the agency into the top 3 performing South African agencies at the festival. It also dominated the 2016 IAB Bookmark Awards being named ‘Agency of the Year’ for the second time. In 2017, NATIVE VML was named global Entertainment Agency of the Year at Cannes Lions, winning 6 lions including Gold. Later that year, Jason was ranked in the Top 3 Chief Creative Officers at the Loerie Awards.

In August 2016, NATIVE VML and Y&R South Africa announced the formation of the VML and Y&R Africa Group with Jason assuming the role of Group CEO. In 2018, he was promoted to the position of Global Chief Vision Officer for VML and Chief Creative Officer for VML, EMEA. Shortly thereafter, Jason and his SA leadership team announced the formation of VML South Africa - a full-service agency formed by combining NATIVE VML, Y&R South Africa, and Labstore into a single integrated company.

Jason is actively involved in the industry serving on the Creative Circle EXCO and the IAB SA Agency Committee. He regularly judges local and international award shows including Cannes Lions, Clio, New York Festivals, Andy, Webby, Creative Circle, Loeries and Dubai Lynx (where he will serve as president of the Branded Entertainment Jury in 2018).