Jonathan Bond and Richard Kirshenbaum founded Kirshenbaum & Bond in May 1987 in New York. The partners' first account, the local Positano Restaurant, asked them to create ads in exchange for free meals. The ad they developed—looking as if it had been riddled with bullets—read, "An authentic Italian restaurant where no one's been shot. Yet."
Other clients soon followed. The agency hired Donna Rice, a woman who gained notoriety through her association with onetime presidential candidate Gary Hart, to sell No Excuses jeans with the line, "I make no excuses; I only wear them." "Dress British, think Yiddish," was the K&B-written tagline for discount clothing store Saint Laurie. And it introduced a new ad medium by stenciling a message for Bamboo Lingerie on New York sidewalks: "From here, it looks like you could use some new underwear." Messrs. Kirshenbaum and Bond earned the nickname the "ad brats."
In 1991, K&B hired Nigel Carr from Chiat/Day to set up a brand-planning operation and named Bill Oberlander as a partner in the agency. Their new accounts, Coach handbags, Moet & Chandon champagne and Hennessy cognac, reflected a new sophistication. However, the agency maintained its philosophy of creating ads that got people talking.
An ad for Moet & Chandon in The New York Times the day after the Gulf War ended Read: "Please tear this page into many small pieces and toss high into the air in celebration of peace"
By 1995, K&B had 175 employees and $200 million in billings. To ensure that every client had a managing partner overseeing its business, a new layer of management was put into place. Rosemarie Ryan, who had worked at K&B from 1991 to 1994, rejoined the agency as president. The three managing partners, Steve Klein, Mr. Oberlander and Mr. Carr, assumed additional duties reporting to Mr. Bond, who was CEO, and Mr. Kirshenbaum, whose title became chief creative officer-founder. To reflect the new structure, the agency was renamed Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners.
The restructuring continued into 1996, when KB&P's Citibank AAdvantage and Snapple campaigns won awards. Ironically, the Snapple "100% natural" campaign became a victim of its own success. Quaker Oats Co. bought the Snapple brand and fired KB&P. However, the year ended on a positive note, with KB&P winning the Target Stores account.
In 1997, the agency started an interactive division and opened KB&P/West in San Francisco. In 2000, the agency acquired the Biore and Home Shopping Network accounts, each worth an estimated $30 million in billings.
In 2003, KB&P had U.S. revenue of $34 million, roughly even with 2002, and ranked No. 42 among U.S. agencies, according to Advertising Age.
The company in early 2004 sold a 60% stake to Canada’s MCD Partners, which also owns part of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami, and Cliff Freeman & Partners and Margeotes Fertitta & Partners, both New York.