40 Under 40 2017: Jeff Immel

SVP and creative director, Weber Shandwick, 36

A leap of faith can sometimes usher in a whole new approach to marketing. When Jeff Immel left Arc Worldwide to join Weber Shandwick Chicago’s budding creative team in 2012 as its first art director, he was making a bold move.

Immel spent five years at Arc, had risen to an associate creative director role, and had done great. He created the first TV commercial for BlackBerry in response to the launch of the first iPhone, and he developed the What’s Inside Matters campaign for Maytag, which is still using the campaign line in advertising.

Taking the risk and joining as the first art director at Weber Shandwick, he recast his traditional advertising experience to build a creative department from the ground up. Immel’s rich visual thinking helped turn what was once a PR-only agency into a marketing communications creative powerhouse that has grown its creative team by more than 30% in five years.

His true contribution to the industry can be measured in the new wave of diverse talent he’s helped recruit to build the department. More than 30 art directors, copywriters, producers, technologists, video editors, and designers have joined the agency due to his efforts. His contributions have become evident beyond Chicago, as Weber Shandwick offices around the world model the team he’s built in the Windy City.

Immel’s work helped Weber Shandwick take home more awards than any other PR firm from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2016.

The work created under his leadership in just the past year — Mars Petcare #MixMania, Honey Maid Wholesome Button, and Motorola Skip the Sevens — clearly shows his impact.

  • Immel served as the mind behind integrated creative campaigns for M&M’s, Verizon, Motorola, Unilever, Snickers, Budweiser, and Harley-Davidson, and he has helped the agency secure millions of dollars in new business over the past five years.
  • He sits on the auxiliary board for Off the Street Club, Chicago’s oldest boys and girls club serving more than 3,000 children in West Garfield Park, one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country.
  • Immel was inspired by his father, who was a successful advertising executive at Leo Burnett for more than three decades.

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