Gerry Graf Gears Up for Another Venture

Ex-Saatchi Creative Partners With Driver Digital to Launch Wholesome Lane

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NEW YORK ( -- Less than a year after leaving Saatchi & Saatchi and setting up his shop, Barton F. Graf 9000, Gerry Graf's already plotting his next venture: a web and mobile content offering called Wholesome Lane.

Gerry Graf
Gerry Graf

The well-known creative has teamed up with a couple of longtime buddies from his days at BBDO, Scott Weitz and J.D. Williams, who are the co-founders of Driver Digital, a new media network and spinoff of Driver Media, a decade-old production house that works with agencies on commercial projects for AT&T, Microsoft and others.

Together, the trio are forming Wholesome Lane, a hub for web and mobile content aimed at 18- to 35-year-old men. The idea, said Messrs. Weitz and Williams, is to create humorous two-minute-long videos that span 10 to 40 episodes. The execs didn't disclose any current clients, but said their hope is that the network will straddle Madison Avenue and Hollywood, churning out some content that's branded and some that's just pure entertainment.

Either way, it's safe to say the name Wholesome Lane is tongue-in-cheek. "I have the maturity level of a 13-year-old," Mr. Graf said. "That seems to work well when trying to connect with guys of any age group."

Mr. Graf left the New York office of Publicis Groupe's Saatchi last April after a two-year stint that marked his second turn at the shop; he also worked there in the mid-'90s.

Other shops where Mr. Graf has clocked time include Omnicom Group agencies BBDO, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Goodby Silverstein & Partners. As he tells it, he came out of that experience deciding he would "just rather be making stuff," and thus started Barton F. Graf 9000 (a reference to his Dad and a video-game weapon). He has managed to attract at least one substantial client in online travel hub Kayak, which he wrested from Goodby.

Mr. Graf is expected to spend the bulk of his time focused on his own agency, but will spend a day or two a week in Wholesome Lane's New York office. He assumes the title of executive producer and chief creative, while Messrs. Weitz and Williams will serve as CEO and exe VP, respectively.

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