Barton F. Graf 9000 Creates Somber Mini-Doc for the Esquire Mentor Project

By Patrick Coffee 

Last month, we posted on 72andSunny’s irreverent take on men becoming mentors, best embodied by the tagline “F*ck off, I’m helping.

Today, Barton F. Graf 9000 gave us the polar opposite of that effort in the second of three campaigns created in partnership with Esquire magazine, also known as the “must-read” glossy for ad creatives everywhere. It’s a very different, very serious effort.

Two names come to mind: Errol Morris and Philip Glass.

Fairly dramatic departure from the agency’s most recent work, no?

In case you missed the point, the men who boys look up to have a direct influence on the paths they choose later in life. The stats tell the story.

One of this campaign’s goals is to help us redefine the very word “mentor.” From Esquire EiC David Granger:

“…mentor is such a bad word. Use it and you can see people tuning out, nodding along as their minds wander. Mentor. Ugh. What does it even mean?”

The ability of the magazine’s project to change behaviors is as uncertain as that of the NFL’s latest anti-domestic violence effort. But this spot does effectively remind us that men can make a big difference in the lives of boys.