Madboy: My Journey from Adboy to Adman

Madboy: My Journey from Adboy to Adman

Richard Kirshenbaum

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 1453211446

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A thrilling and irreverent memoir about the transformation of the advertising business from the 1980s to today

Richard Kirshenbaum was born to sell. Raised in a family of Long Island strivers, this future advertising titan was just a few years old when his grandfather first taught him that a Cadillac is more than a car, and that if you can’t have a Trinitron you might as well not watch TV. He had no connections when he came to Madison Avenue, but he possessed an outrageous sense of humor that would make him a millionaire.
In 1987, at the age of twenty-six, Richard put his savings on the line to launch his own agency with partner Jonathan Bond, and within a year, had transformed it from a no-name firm into the go-to house for cutting-edge work. Kirshenbaum and Bond pioneered guerilla marketing by purchasing ad space on fruit, spray-painting slogans on the sidewalk, and hiring actors to order the Hennessy martini in nightclubs. They were the bad boys of Madison Avenue—a firm where a skateboarding employee once bowled over an important client—but backed up their madness with results.
Packed with business insight, marketing wisdom, and a cast of characters ranging from Princess Diana to Ed McMahon, this memoir is as bold, as breathtaking, and as delightful as Richard himself.














hanging out all day in the hot sun in center field. I really did ask my father if I could bring out a folding chair to sit center field! It is not untrue that two macho parent coaches got together and said, “We’re never gonna win with that Kirshenbaum kid, you know the creative one,” and that I was summarily given the boot and dispatched to a ragtag, loser team somewhere in Rockville Centre. My writing skills at nine were in full force when I wrote a soliloquy to the coaches and cc’d the

girlfriend just arrived.) Or about her friend, “She’s still pretty, I guess.” (Meaning: After two eye-lifts, a mini face-lift, and boob implants, she went to the wrong doctor.) Or, “We’ve been best friends for so long. You should have seen her back in the day.” (Meaning: Many meanings. She is either prettier or uglier—depending on the inflections in her voice—or she was a party girl, slut, waitress, or all of the above.) My favorite backhanded New York “best friend” compliment of all time is:

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Duchess.” I said. “And you are?” she asked. “Richard Kirshenbaum. A Jewish American prince.” She laughed, and it made the gossip column in the New York Daily News. Phyllis George, Fergie, and the prince, Richard All I thought to myself (at the time) was, why bother saying hello? She’s Princess Di and she’s on top of the world. And I’m just an ad guy who comes up to her bikini wax. After what seemed like an eternity then, the doors opened and the surreal moment

what it always appears to be, especially in New York. Not too long ago, Dana and I were invited to a society gala for the ASPCA at the Plaza. Dana was seated next to the famous movie producer Marty Bregman, and many people stopped by the table to kiss the ring of the man who brought the public movies such as Scarface and Sea of Love. Suddenly, I saw my old ad accountant (Ken Starr, the one who’s in jail for a Ponzi scheme, can you believe it?) walk over to the table. Ken walked over to Marty and

a great one, always taking out photos of all the kids and displaying them equally. A few short years later, when Phyllis became ill in the final stages of breast cancer, she and Dana would talk for hours on the phone. And one night, she told Dana, “I’m scared.” Dana said, “Phyllis, you’re not going anywhere. You have to meet the new baby.” (Dana was pregnant again with our third child), and she and Phyllis shared a special bond over the new baby’s arrival. After Dana gave birth, she immediately

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