NEW YORK As a long-suffering Buffalo Bills fan, David Gray must channel his "inherently competitive" nature into other endeavors, said director Bryan Buckley, a partner at Hungry Man. That's why Buckley considers Gray one of the top art directors in the business.
"Getting good creative requires you to fight for what you believe in, and Dave does that," Buckley said. "He wants to win, whether it's in touch football or chess. He's a good, strategic player. No matter what he does, he does well."
Gray, 34, a gcd at Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, will join Interpublic Group's McCann-Erickson next month as one of four ecds in its New York office.
He will report to McCann New York chairman, chief creative officer Nina DiSesa, who said she has not yet determined which accounts Gray will head besides Coke Classic. McCann shares that business with WPP's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell.
"To understand the real power of a creative is to see how they edit a spot," DiSesa noted. "He can convey complicated messages the first time around." She cited Gray's Goodyear and E*Trade work. "He's a real craftsman."
Gray created a gold Lion-winning spot with then-partner Gerry Graf for E*Trade that ran in the 2000 Super Bowl. In the ad, two men and a monkey clap to "La Cucaracha." The team also created a send-up of the dot-com bust for E*Trade in which a monkey tours a ghost town that was once a center for Internet companies.
Gray's Goodyear work includes "Carpooling" and "Family Vacation" from 2001.
At BBDO in New York from 1995-97, Gray and Graf created the "Not going anywhere for a while?" Snickers campaign, which won a gold Lion in 1998, as well as work for FedEx, Visa, Pizza Hut and M&Ms.
In 1997 they joined Goodby, working on Budweiser, Polaroid, Isuzu and Nike. Graf, a copywriter, returned to BBDO in 2001.
"It's a bittersweet move," Gray said of his new position. "I'm excited to be coming back to New York, but working at Goodby was great."