Cannes Jury Spotlight: Jeff Geheb

Jeff Geheb's Headshot

At Cannes Lions, the world’s premier festival recognizing creative excellence, thousands of entries pour in from countries worldwide. Behind the scenes, a carefully selected panel of judges reviews the work that will ultimately take home a coveted Cannes Lion.

Joining the ranks of the industry’s most recognized and respected creative professionals, Jeff Geheb, Global Chief Experience officer at VMLY&R, is serving as a juror on Creative Business Transformation Lions

Jeff is VMLY&R’s Global Chief Experience Officer and the visionary behind VMLY&R’s customer experience practice. In his 20-plus years at VMLY&R, Jeff has led the agency’s world-class experience design, commerce, innovation, data and technology capabilities. It’s through these practices that VMLY&R earned the designations of “Strong Performer” in Forrester’s 2019 Digital Experience Providers Wave and “Leader” in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Global Marketing Agencies.

Jeff is directly responsible for the digital transformation of VMLY&R’s largest global clients, including Ford Motor Company, Sherwin-Williams, Colgate-Palmolive and Google. Jeff advises on a range of services, including growth strategy, product/service design, ecommerce, digital ecosystems, CRM, marketing technology and data-driven marketing. Through this work, VMLY&R has a taken a thought leadership position on CX transformation, starting the first industry council on CX in partnership and becoming the industry’s first agency with over 100 global professionals certified in Forrester’s CX methodology.

Jeff represents VMLY&R on Adobe’s partner advisory board and Acquia’s partner advisory board, and is a founding member of WPP’s technology leadership council. He’s been recognized by Techweek’s Tech100 and Ingram’s “40 under 40,” and serves as a founding board member for Kansas City’s Keystone Innovation District.

What do you think will be the big talking points at this year’s festival?  

The last two years have changed us all dramatically. I don’t buy the idea of “going back” — we will only go forward in a new way. I am expecting there will be themes that come out of this year’s festival that will set the new normal around sustainability, inclusion, mental health, innovation and engagement.  

Describe creativity during the pandemic in one sentence.

“Necessity is the mother of invention” — this proverb has never been more true. While creativity was hard during the pandemic, it pushed us to places where we never would have gone — and that will make things better in the future.

Is there anything you are looking for in the entries of the category you are judging?  

I am judging a new category this year — Creative Business Transformation — so I am excited to see how the work shapes the category for the first time. Personally, I am looking for work that demonstrates the brave, purposeful, innovative ways that businesses have redefined themselves in the face of constantly changing marketing, customer and cultural dynamics. I am also looking for the “creative” angle of it — it’s one thing for a business to change, it’s another to judge whether it changed to its full creative potential. The degree of creativity in the transformation will make all the difference.  

What makes you passionate about the category you were nominated to judge? 

I have spent most of my career trying to help companies change further, faster. There is no playbook for change, just the sum of your experiences that might be able to help the next person making change. My hope is that I learn more about change from the stories, people, jurors and work. 

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