He jumped from working as a copywriter for BBDO Worldwide, New York, to Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco in 1997 as an associate creative director. Now he's back in the Big Apple at BBDO. His new title -- executive creative director.
Mr. Graf is the fifth big wheel on Chief Creative Officer Ted Sann's team of executive creative directors, which includes Al Merrin, Charlie Miesmer, Michael Patti and Jimmy Siegel.
"I wanted to be in New York again," Mr. Graf said, "and the other reason why I came back is the new title."
Mr. Graf already has been put to work as the creative group head on the Frito-Lay account, specifically on Doritos. "We're going to start a little group," he said. "Right now I'm doing all the writing on my own."
Mr. Siegel brought Mr. Graf to BBDO in 1995 from Wells, Rich, Greene, New York, where he worked briefly. At his new agency, he was paired with art director David Gray and together they created the famous Snickers campaign for M&M/Mars.
One memorable installment of the campaign was a flight of seven spots that cost $15 million and aired during the National Football League season in 1996. In one of those, a groundsman painstakingly paints the name "Chiefs" into the end zone of a football stadium, finishes and finds that he's written "Chefs" instead. "Not going anywhere for a while?" a droll voice-over asks. "Grab a Snickers." The tagline for the campaign was "Hungry? Why wait?"
FROM `MONKEY' TO `SUGAR MOMMA'
On the strength of this Snickers work, Goodby recruited both Messrs. Graf and Gray, and put them to work on the E-Trade Securities account. The team produced popular, oddball advertising including another Super Bowl spot called "Monkey" that featured two men dancing with a chimp in a garage with superimposed type reading, "Well, we just wasted 2 million bucks. What are you doing with your money?" This was followed by voice-over saying, "It's time for E-Trade."
Another commercial for the advertiser, called "Sugar Momma" features a gigolo forced to massage the bunions of a rich matron. "Be your own sugar daddy," the spot advised. "It's time for E-Trade."
This time, Mr. Gray did not make the move with Mr. Graf. He continues to oversee E-Trade for Goodby, working closely with Co-Chairman Rich Silverstein. Mr. Graf, however, is not entirely on his own at BBDO. He will work with Harold Einstein, another former Goodby creative, who went free-lance two months ago.
Mr. Einstein also is a returnee. He worked for BBDO West, Los Angeles, under Creative Director David Lubars in 1995. Before that, he worked on the Little Caesars Pizza account at Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York. At Goodby, Mr. Einstein helped create an edgy campaign for TiVo, including the controversial spot that slammed network TV programmers. "They decide what we want and when we watch it," the voice-over said. "Who needs 'em?" A thug wearing black then tosses the executive out a window. "TiVo. TV your way."
Mr. Graf will work on other accounts besides Frito-Lay, Mr. Sann said. But for the time being, he will concentrate on Doritos. Will there be more appearances of Ali Landry, the famous Doritos girl?
"No," Mr. Graf said. "We're starting fresh."