When Gerry Graf vacated the CCO seat at Saatchi, people were all “OMG WTF is going on with these advertising people?” His salvo/exodus came at around the same time Ty Montague and Rosemarie Ryan left JWT (they later formed Co.). It was a shake-up the likes of which advertising hasn’t recently seen, and that twisted many important agency folks’ undies into a formidable super-bundle.
So, now what.
I had breakfast with Graf a few days after he left and asked what he’d be up to, what with all the free time he was facing. The most striking remembrance of that meeting was how ready to be done he was. Advertising is a cranky mistress: too many chores, not enough sex. As a remedy, Graf told me he planned to watch movies and play video games for awhile. If I recall correctly, he gave himself a year to mess about. In the last few months he’s done some speaking events and whatnot, too. But c’mon, you knew as well as we did, he couldn’t stay away too long.
Hidden in the ether of his time off is the beginnings of his next step. Graf’s father, one Barton F. Graf (pictured), provided a bit of the inspiration, as did DOOM – a videogame any gamer will tell you was made famous by one weapon – the BFG9000. That’s “Big Fucking Gun”, which acronym-ically matches Barton F. Graf, creating a tie in to Graf’s heritage and (apparent) love of blowing shit up.
The only tangible existence of new “shop”, so-far called Barton F. Graf 9000, LLC., is a Facebook page containing Graf’s previous work. I’m not sure you can even call it a shop, or an agency, or anything just yet. But I can say the guy wants to do something, SOMETHING, that doesn’t involve cereal boxes or fluorescent lights or swiping a key card. And because Graf’s agency name sets it up so nicely, we gotta ask – does the BFG9000 have any ammo left?