Saatchi Snags Graf From TBWA

Replaces Outgoing Creative Chief Tony Granger

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, has snagged top creative Gerry Graf from Omnicom Group's TBWA/Chiat/Day to replace its outgoing chief creative officer, Tony Granger.
Gerry Graf
Gerry Graf

Saatchi "has huge brands," said Mr. Graf. "I love working with big brands; I look back on everything I've worked on and it's Snickers and FedEx, Guinness and Nike." Not only were Saatchi's businesses attractive to Mr. Graf, who has known Saatchi Worldwide Creative Director Bob Isherwood for years, but he added, "the people were just great."

A spokeswoman for Publicis Groupe's Saatchi declined to comment on the hire. A TBWA spokeswoman said: "Gerry's done great work for us. We really appreciate it. We wish him the best."

Courted for a couple of months
Mr. Graf, who most recently spent four years as executive creative director at TBWA, New York, said he was courted by Saatchi for a couple of months. In his new role, he will lend his expertise to a roster of blue-chip marketers like Procter & Gamble, Wendy's and J.C. Penney.

Mr. Graf did a stint a Saatchi in the early '90s. But his return to a Publicis Groupe agency is significant, as he has a long history of working with Omnicom agencies. Mr Graf was a onetime copywriter for BBDO, New York, and did a stint at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco before, returning to New York as executive creative director at BBDO in 2000 under Ted Sann. He moved over to TBWA in late 2003.

Beyond a list of solid agencies, Mr. Graf boasts on his resume a ton of solid work; he was one of the creatives behind the famous campaign for M&M/Mars with the tagline: "Hungry? Why Wait?" as well as award-winning spots for Skittles.

Exit plans
Mr. Graf, who informed TBWA of his resignation yesterday, isn't clear about his exit plans from TBWA. "I have a good relationship with [TBWA President-CEO] Tom Carroll. ... We'll work something out." Also yet to be worked out is the exit of Mr. Granger from Saatchi, due to what executives familiar with the matter said are strict contract terms that have been a sticking point with Saatchi's Worldwide CEO, Kevin Roberts.

Mr. Granger, who during his career has worked at Saatchi, London, and at TBWA, Grey and Bozell, in November announced he was leaving the Publicis agency where he worked since October 2004 for WPP Group's Young & Rubicam. His hire was a major coup for Y&R, which is attempting to turn around under the direction of Global CEO Hamish McLennan.
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