Madboy Could Be The Last Big Advertising Memoir. We’ll See.

If you’re a student of advertising history, then you know that at one time (in the late 80’s and early 90’s) Richard Kirshenbaum was a bit of an enfant terrible in the industry. His story, and that of his agency Kirshenbaum & Bond, is recounted in Madboy: My Journey From Adboy to Adman.

This is much more of a memoir than a business treatise. I’d highly recommend you dig up a copy of Under The Radar for a closer look at many of K&B’s great early triumphs from an advertising perspective. (And as a remarkable aside: When I looked it up on Amazon, the site reminded me I originally ordered it in 1997.)

With Madboy, you get a heavy dose of Kirshenbuam’s Long Island upbringing and the schmaltz-filled memories of his Jewish childhood and family, coupled with a celebrity name-drop on nearly every page. Kirshenbaum started with Kenneth Cole as an early client, and the celebrity world seems to have quite a fascination for him.

From this book, it’s hard to get a real good handle on where Kirshenbaum sees the industry headed. His namesake agency is now called Kirshenbuam Bond Senecal & Partners and it’s owned by MDC, so I’m not sure how much influence he’s got over the shop anymore. But that’s not what Madboy is about. It’s a breezy look at one of the last real big New York City advertising personalities. It’s hard for me to imagine who’ll be the next advertising person capable of writing a book like this.

Special thanks to Open Road Integrated Media for providing me with a review copy.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.