HAMBURG, GERMANY // Ralf Heuel is CCO and Partner at Grabarz & Partner in Hamburg – the agency he cofounded as a Junior Copywriter in 1993. At that time, the company comprised five employees. As Creative Director and, since 2002, as CCO, 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.
When asked what inspires him most you will probably hear something about movies, music and listening to people. Or driving an air-cooled Porsche, on a curvy mountain road. Luckily, what has always been his personal passion became the agency's client in 2016.
Ralf and his agency received several honours over the past years: In 2013 and again 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. At the same time he was awarded ‘Creative Leader of the Year’ by the Lead Academy, an award for which he was also nominated in 2012.
The current Big Won Report lists Grabarz & Partner in 13th place in the most creative agencies in the world. The agency also came second in the German 2018 creativity ranking of w&v magazine – 8th for 2019. And in 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’.
Under his creative leadership, Grabarz & Partner became the first independent agency ever to acquire a large portion of the German Volkswagen account in 2001; in addition, Heuel has now been developing the advertising for IKEA Germany – the most important market for the Swedish furniture store – for more than 25 years.
300 employees are today responsible for the domestic and international accounts of Grabarz & Partner, which include Volkswagen, Porsche, IKEA, Burger King, EURONICS, and Melitta.