Gerry Graf, Ian Reichenthal, Scott Vitrone

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FROM LEFT: Graf, Reichenthal and Vitrone
FROM LEFT: Graf, Reichenthal and Vitrone
Chiat/Day's candymen in New York, ECD Gerry Graf and group creative directors Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone had another year of turning out engaging work for Skittles, Starburst, and Snickers. For the latter, we got a pair of ugly brothers who are disappointed to learn that their Mom thinks looks do count. For Starburst, we got the preposterous Little Lad and his twee little dance. (Check YouTube to see lots of Lad fans reenacting his moves.) And for Skittles, they delivered the most-watched spot on AdCritic in 2007—the tragicomic story of a man whose touch turns everything to Skittles. (They also scored the site's tenth most popular spot by hooking a guy up to a milking machine.) The trio started working together when Graf ran the FedEx accunt at BBDO and brought in Ian and Scott as freelancers. All three share a flair for the, um, unusual. But don't call them weird. "We get labeled as the guys who do that weird stuff, and I don't think it's completely accurate," says Vitrone. "You have to consider, number one, that we're selling Skittles." Both he and Reichenthal insist, moreover, that strategy comes first, it's just the executions that are offbeat. But then, Vitrone observes, "Isn't the whole world of commercials ridiculous? A woman dancing around her living room with a Swiffer and singing is far more absurd than the things we do, because at least you know we're joking." The band, unfortunately, appears to be breaking up (at least for now) as Graf—who has reignited the New York office's creative rep in his four years at Chiat/Day —heads over to Saatchi & Saatchi, charged with a similar mission.

Vitrone, on comedy: "You can't apply a formula to what you think is going to work. You just have to trust yourself. If it makes you and a couple of the guys here laugh, you just have to go with it. Instead of trying to figure out what people are going to find funny, you just hopefully do something that people will come to."

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