NEW YORK - With $80 million in new billings, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners has already made 1998 its most successful year to date. As a result, the New York shop will make about 30 new hires and elevate two staffers to vice president.
The growth spurt follows a mediocre 1997, in which billings and revenues each grew less than 10 percent and the shop lost five clients. Although busy on the new business front, the agency won just seven of 14 pitches.
Five months into 1998, Kirshenbaum already has eight new clients: Liberty Mutual; 1-800-Flowers; Efamol Nutraceuticals; Centraal; N2K Music Boulevard; Kaplan Educational Centers; Coca-Cola, for which it will do unspecified project work; and an unnamed West Coast client.
Co-founder Jonathan Bond attributed the success to cohesiveness among the managing partners. "We've been working together for a long time, and it takes a while to establish chemistry," Bond said.
The 11-year-old agency will now be more selective when pursuing business, its principals said. The main categories in which the shop remains open are telecommunications, cars and beer.
The new vice presidents, Karen Dunbar and James Hitchcock, now have small stakes in the agency. Dunbar, 32, was promoted from associate creative director to group creative director on accounts including Liberty Mutual and Prudential HealthCare. Hitchcock, 30, was elevated to associate creative director from senior art director. He works on the Target and Liberty Mutual accounts.
Kirschenbaum Bond has about 20 vice presidents, six managing partners and five associate partners. Co-founders Richard Kirshenbaum and Bond each own 40 percent of the agency; the others have progressively smaller stakes. The agency now claims billings of $275 million.
Its staff will total 232 once the new employees are in place.