D&AD: Wieden+Kennedy’s Chairman On His Dream Campaign
A small, unusually-named agency set out to do work on climate change that needed to be done.
D&AD asked the world’s most potent creatives what they’d seen in 2013 that made them think ‘I wish I’d done that’?
To discuss advertising, we asked Dan Wieden, the winner of the 2012 D&AD President’s Award, and Chairman of one of the most influential advertising agencies this side of the millennium, Wieden+Kennedy.
These films were produced by Factory Fifteen, for Nexus Productions.
To find out more about the brains behind Climate Name Change, Barton F. Graf 9000, we spoke to founder Gerry Graf.
Can you give us a short history of Barton F. Graf 9000?
We started out in 2010 in the back room of a friend’s company. In 2011 we were named one of the agencies to watch by Advertising Age. In 2012 we were named one of the ten most creative agencies in the world by AdAge. We now have 45 employees. It’s been crazy.
Did you know BFG also stands for Big Friendly Giant?
I love Roald Dahl, but the name came from the video game Doom. Big F’in Gun.
How do you describe the Barton F. Graf 9000 style?
We create things you’ve never seen before but will want to see over and over.
Is comedy the key to great advertising?
Honesty is the key to great advertising. Being real is. It just so happens that reality is often funny.
Dan Wieden said of Climate Name Change, “I Wish I’d Done That’. How does that feel?
To have our work mentioned by one of the most, maybe the most, important men in the past 30 years of advertising is mind blowing.
What were your fears in creating Climate Name Change?
We didn’t want it to come off as partisan, just bashing the right. There are idiots and bad people on both sides.
Is dabbling in politics dangerous for ad agencies?
If you have a great idea, who cares which side it’s for.
Is climate change a topic that’s close to the heart of BFG9000?
Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan last year. Hurricanes are supposed to hit Florida which is 1500 miles south, never NYC. After going through that we started talking about the fact that it’s quite obvious that we have completely altered the weather patterns.
What have been some of the more extreme responses to the Climate Name Change?
President Obama’s office called us and said they liked it. That was pretty huge.
D&AD’s White Pencil celebrates work that puts a social or environmental change at its heart. Is this something you expect to see more of from the advertising industry?
Yes. There are brilliant creative minds in our industry. I think they would like to have a chance to make the world a better place.
[Brain Surgeon, Nomination, TV & Cinema Advertising, 2013, Barton F Graf 9000]
What’s next for BFG9000? Have you achieved what you set out to?
Our goal is to become the most creative company on the planet. We have a long way to go, but we’ve had a nice start.
What are you most proud of creating?
Not including my three kids? I’m still amazed that Barton F. Graf 9000 exists. And that everyone has insurance. That’s pretty awesome.
And finally, can you tell us about the creative work this year that made you think ‘I wish I’d done that’?
1. I watched in Time’s Square, as they raised a 15 foot mustache up to the giant face of Ron Burgundy for Anchorman 2
2. Pereira & O’Dell’s “Beauty Inside” for Dell and Toshiba is also one of my favs of this year.
3. I went to the Apple store yesterday on 5th ave. It’s the best ad for Apple ever. It makes me feel cool and it makes me want to buy stuff.