The Modern Day Mad Man, Richard Kirshenbaum

As it is Advertising Week in New York City, we thought the timing was perfect to chat with a modern day mad man, founder of Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners, Richard Kirshenbaum. He is one of the most exciting personalities in New York City advertising and along with partner Jonathan Bond, Kirshenbaum founded an agency, which pioneered marketing concepts such as the pop-up store, sidewalk advertising, and other forms of high-visibility guerrilla marketing.  In 2011, he also launched NueStudioGroup/SWAT which provides creative services and product development to its clients.

What is the most challenging part of your job as an Ad Exec?
The new business pitch because in the ad business you have to give away ideas to get business.

Today, what must most professionals in advertising strive to attain?
Relevancy in digital.

 What do you think is the marker of a successful advertising executive today?
I think it’s always people skills, in general ad people tend to be very interesting.

What would you say is one of the most powerful ads out right now?
A commercial in Russia comes to mind: 2 supermodels are on a beach and go into the water.  Suddenly a shark leaps from the water and eats one of them. It’s a Tampax commercial.

In your opinion what makes a powerful advertising campaign? 
The benefit is linked to the creative device… the idea has to reinforce the product.

Advertising today is more ______ than it was in the 60’s and 70’s.
Complicated.

The show Mad Men is an accurate or inaccurate depiction of what the lifestyle of an Ad Exec is today?
I think it’s incredibly accurate. So much so that when I watch it at the end of the day I can’t relax because I feel like I’m reliving my entire day…only in the 1950s.

In your opinion is the role of advertising more or less powerful and influential today than it was in the 1960’s and 1970s?
More in some and less in others. Back then you had blocks of people tuning in to only a few options so you could reach people so easily. Today there are so many options. But brands have become even more important to people because of this.

My day at work includes scotch?
Rosé. I don’t drink hard liquor except for Blackwell rum

One of the craziest things that’s ever happened to you while working?
I was on a Hennessy shoot and the model had to be naked. The only way she would come out of the trailer was if everyone stripped down to their underwear too so… The cops came at one point and I thought we were all going to jail standing there in our underwear and high tops.