The essence: Co-founders Richard Kirshenbaum and Jon Bond last January sold a majority stake to holding company MDC Partners, putting their agency into a family whose siblings include creatively driven shops like Crispin Porter & Bogusky. So far, the deal's impact has been behind-the-scenes. Kirshenbaum held steady throughout the year, delivering innovative, often light-on-TV solutions.
Net growth: Seven wins, all less than $40 million in billings; one loss (Meow Mix); plus more duties from current clients (Verizon SuperPages, Schieffelin & Somerset Co.) resulted in a good year. A brand-positioning project handled for Mercedes-Benz' Smart car, Kirshenbaum hopes, is experience that will help to land a much-desired car account.
management: Messrs. Kirshenbaum and Bond remain at the helm, and a second tier of managers who lead the various entities- Lime Public Relations & Promotions, Media Kitchen and Dotglu-is assuming more oversight. Look for expansion into areas such as Hispanic, possibly via acquisition.
Creative quality and effectiveness: Highlights included a campaign for USA Network that tagged dollar bills with stickers to promote the cable channel's miniseries and a campy TV spot for Hartz Mountain Corp. that spoofed Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy." The Hartz spot, which invites consumers to call for their pet makeover kits, brought big response from viewers.