Barton F. Graf 9000 has ramped up its creative leadership with the appointment of former Wieden & Kennedy New York Exec Creative Directors Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone, who will become exec creative directors and partners at the agency.
The announcement marks a reunion of the pair with agency founder and chief creative officer Gerry Graf. The three had previously worked together at TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, where they spearheaded a creative renaissance in candy and snack advertising with memorable work for Starburst, Skittles and Combos.
While at Wieden & Kennedy, New York, Mr. Reichenthal and Mr. Vitrone continued to make creative waves, most notably, on the much celebrated "Whatever's Comfortable" campaign for Southern Comfort; introduced new, buzz-creating work for Heineken -- including the recent "Departure Roulette" effort that sent travelers off their itineraries into unknown destinations; and innovative efforts for Jordan Brand, branded content for ESPN and more.
Prior to Wieden, Mr. Vitrone and Mr. Reichenthal were exec creative directors at Y&R New York, where they also helped lead notable work for Land Rover and LG.
Mr. Graf said that their appointment comes at a time when the agency is moving into a new phase. "We're not a startup anymore. We're a major agency. We have national clients, global clients. It was really this year when we moved into phase two that I started thinking I needed heavy hitters. Scott and Ian are the world's best creative directors. Scott's sense of design is fantastic and Ian's one of the best pure writers around. They're really going to give us a lot more creative handles."
"This is a working relationship and a friendship that goes back a long way," said Mr. Vitrone. "At a minimum, we're going to have a really good time together, and hopefully, we can help continue to build this agency into something special."
Since Mr. Graf launched his agency in 2010, Barton F. Graf 9000 has earned a reputation for its comedy chops with campaigns for Kayak.com, Little Caesars and Dish -- work that, in a way, painted the agency as a new era Cliff Freeman. According to Mr. Graf, Mr. Reichenthal and Mr. Vitrone will help add more dimension to the agency's creative output. "That' why we're bringing them in," he said. "Over the years, and especially over the past three years at Wieden, they've really broadened their tone and have been able to execute great creative, moving beyond TV and funny, but going into mobile and experiential."
Moreover, their hire "is going to allow us to scale," said Mr. Graf. "They've run entire agencies with Y&R and Wieden. They're obviously awesome creative people but they can steer entire creative departments."
Meanwhile, Barton F. Graf 9000 Exec Creative Director Eric Kallman, who joined in 2011 from Wieden & Kennedy Portland and previously worked under Messrs. Graf, Vitrone and Reichenthal at TBWA, has left the agency.
Wieden & Kennedy New York could not be immediately be reached for comment regarding Mr. Vitrone and Mr. Reichenthal's successors.