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.
"A shimmering piece of work, in which the flash illuminates the creative act." —Kirkus Reviews
"With Madboy, Richie Kirshenbaum puts it all together in one great book on advertising. How it should be done. How he did it. And isn't it great fun." —Jerry Della Femina
"Madboy is the tell-all story of the modern ad world, crammed full of humor, wit, revealing anecdotes, and accurate portrayals of advertising's most colorful characters. Richard
Kirshenbaum is Long G'Island's Don Draper. I am going to get around to reading the parts of the book I'm not in real soon." —James Patterson
Richard Kirshenbaum is one of the most exciting personalities in New York City advertising. In 1987, at age twenty-six, he cofounded the Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners agency, which pioneered such innovative concepts as the pop-up store, sidewalk advertising, and other forms of high-visibility guerrilla marketing. At the time of its sale, KBP was the largest independent ad agency in the United States, with one billion dollars in billing. In 2011 Kirshenbaum launched NSG/SWAT, a high-profile boutique branding agency that works with entrepreneurs and emerging companies. He is also cofounder, with music icon Chris Blackwell, of Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum.
Kirshenbaum has lectured at Harvard Business School, has appeared on 20/20, was named to Crain’s New York Business’s “40 under Forty” list, was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 2000, and snagged second place on a list of the top one hundred US entrepreneurs. He is the author of the business book Under the Radar; the relationship guide Closing the Deal, which has been translated into nine languages; the advertising memoir Madboy, an Amazon bestseller; and Isn’t That Rich?, a compilation of essays from his New York Observer column. Kirshenbaum is an accomplished playwright, and his work has been produced by David Mamet’s Atlantic Theater Company. He has also contributed to Us Weekly’s “Fashion Police” feature and has written comedy for the legendary Joan Rivers, among others.