Player Profile: West Coast outpost ahead for Mad Dog leader Cohen

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visitor to nick Cohen's New York office will find no fewer than three dogs in attendance at any given time. It's an appropriately energetic atmosphere for Mr. Cohen's hip and irreverent creative shop Mad Dogs & Englishmen, which has put its witty stamp on such companies as Moviefone, Yoohoo chocolate drink, Target, Gay Financial Network, HBO, The Economist, and Time Warner's Road Runner high-speed online service.

The 42-year-old British-born Mr. Cohen retains his title of chief creative officer for Mad Dogs He will become a West Coaster next month as he moves to the agency's new San Francisco office. That office opened Sept. 1 to service its latest account win, Metro Newspapers, publisher of a weekly alternative paper. Mad Dogs also has an assignment from PDI/DreamWorks to create a recruitment campaign for its animation unit.

Dave Cook, former creative director, takes over as executive creative director of Mad Dogs' New York office. With a projected $120 million in billings at the close of 2000, Mad Dogs in New York is currently developing a brand campaign for Haribo Gummi Bears and broke a print campaign just last week in The New York Times for Starband, the first two-way high-speed Internet connection via satellite.


Founded in July 1991, Mad Dogs' original home was Mr. Cohen's loft apartment-"just me, my wife and the agency"-but in 1994, the agency moved happily to its current location near Manhattan's Union Square. "Now we have a lot more space-for our people and our dogs-but it's a good time to move to San Francisco because we just keep outgrowing our quarters," Mr. Cohen said. Naturally, his dogs Betty and Bear will come with him and his family.

The launch of Mad Dogs' San Francisco branch is a defining moment for the agency, which 18 months ago bought back its shares from Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, to become fully independent.


Mad Dogs has been noted by the industry for its keen understanding of client identity. "The best compliment came from the Gay Financial Network-they were pretty amazed that a bunch of heterosexual people could understand their culture and ideas," Mr. Cohen said. In creating the award-winning ads, Mad Dogs sent its planners and creatives-pretending to be gay couples-to various banks and financial institutions.

"What we got was a vague discomfort, and we were able to use the existing financial environment as a foil," said Robin Hafitz, Mad Dogs' managing partner and chief strategic officer. "It's because of Nick that we've really been encouraged in the collaborative spirit here at Mad Dogs, and to research the consumer and client viewpoints. When I met Nick I had the chance to create a planning culture-which had been primarily a British discipline-from the ground up." received a 10% membership increase in the first week and 2,000 requests for the ad the day after its first insertion.

Before starting his shop, Mr. Cohen worked as a creative at the agency then known as Chiat/Day/Mojo, New York and Ogilvy & Mather, New York.

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