Gerry Graf Defines Bravery

On October 1st, the industry gathered at Advertising Week XI  for”ANDY 50 Defining Bravery“, a session hosted by The AD Club in honor of the 50th anniversary of The International ANDY Awards. Throughout this year, the ANDYs have united the industry to celebrate the past five decades advertising and usher in the future with a platform centered on bravery. Because bravery is something that resonates with our industry, and the future of the ad business relies on those who are brave enough to challenge the status quo and push the envelope for the sake of creating a stronger future industry.

The event host and outgoing 2014 ANDYs Chairman, David Droga, invited three industry icons — Cindy Gallop, Gerry Graf and Colleen DeCourcy — to inspire audience members with stories of bravery in advertising and creativity. After, three audience members were randomly selected to come up on stage and share their own stories of bravery.

Here’s what Gerry Graf, Founder/Chief Creative Officer, Barton F. Graf 9000 had to say:

Graf started his speech by telling the audience a story about his daughter’s bravery. She was diagnosed with Lyme disease and lost all feeling in one half of her face, but fearlessly went on to sing a song in her school musical. When he told her how brave she was for doing it, she looked at him quizzically and asked “why?”
Graf discussed his beliefs on bravery, and then closed out his speech with some rather blunt and cheeky advice on how to be brave:
“The reason people don’t take chances and try to do something bold and different is because they are afraid. Specifically, they are afraid of losing their job. More specifically, they are afraid of not having money. How do we remove that fear from the equation? I have some suggestions. Don’t get married. Don’t have children. Have no dependents. Avoid second mortgages like the plague. Try to pay for everything in cash. Keep the overhead low. Follow the lead of Steve Jobs and stay unmarried for as long as possible and if you do sire a child, deny the fact that it’s yours so you can spend all your time at work and not pay child support. Don’t buy the boat. Don’t buy the vintage Stratocaster. Move to Queens. If you are married, do not get divorced. Love your spouse with all your heart and make sure they love you. Because 1.) Love is good and everything, and 2.) Nothing kills a creative career like divorce. Alimony can make you stay at horrible jobs. If you have your own place, you might lose half of it in the settlement. So love, love, love. If you have kids, you can ignore them until they’re about five. They won’t remember. So work really hard during that stretch. And remember, public schools are fine.”