Mad Dogs Unleashed

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Despite tough times, some agencies refuse to lose their sense of humor. Take Mad Dogs & Englishmen, which celebrated its 10th anniversary—that's 70 in dog years—with a retrospective last week at The One Club in New York.

On display was a decade of witty, pungent ads: a votive candle with Fonzie's like ness for Nick at Nite; a Friends of Animals parks sign that pleads: "Fur wearers: Please refrain from eating the squirrels." Well-wishers included Jane Newman, Richard Kirshenbaum and alums like Wieden + Kennedy's Ty Montague, who founded Mad Dogs with Nick Cohen when they were both at other shops.

"We wanted to enter our [freelance] work into an awards show," Cohen told the crowd, but Montague's boss wouldn't let him use his real name. "Angry and miserable," Montague chose the Mad Dogs moniker. Cohen, a Londoner, supplied Englishmen. "There have been many stories over the years, but that's the truth," Cohen said.

A 1991 Creative Register ad, "The Perfect Suicide," warning of the dangers of staying in a dead-end job, won several honors. Since then, clients have included Yoo-hoo, The Village Voice, The Eco no mist, Kenneth Cole, Moviefone and the Gay Financial Network.

Co-chair Robin Hafitz hailed Cohen for "luring" her to the shop with the promise of "creating advertising that isn't toxic." Other bits of agency lore were printed in tiny type on an "official" T-shirt.

True to form, a dog was in attendance. CD Mikal Reich brought his Jack Russell terrier, Chicko, who surveyed the room blearily.

The 28-person, $70 million shop, which opened a San Francisco outpost last year, is facing the same drought as other boutiques, and execs confirmed they've held talks with The Wolf Group. "If it makes sense, we'll do it," said Cohen, "I think it's a long shot."

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.