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When we opened our doors, back in 1991, the first work we did was fairly extreme in its desire to be honest. At times very very very honest. We had this notion that the public were tired of advertising that was overly one sided, lavishly distorting the truth to it’s own end. What's wrong with being balanced and sincere. How dare brands, based on the thinnest of merit, so biasedly sing their own praises! What outrage that a deep pocketed marketer could road block the airwaves with their dumbed down messages. In hindsight, I think we just wanted advertising to be a bit more engaging, treat people with affection and not take itself quite so seriously. Be useful even. Imagine that. We had this idealistic dream that advertising, as intrusive as it was, could be humble or playful, surprising or even slightly strange if it was compelling. What if advertising could be like the gatecrasher at the party that was invited to, “Hey, stay and have a beer!” In 2005 Mad Dogs closed. It's a long story...don't ask. Everyone dispersed. Some of the team formed cool new companies. Some took on roles helping make interesting stuff in other agencies, home and far away. Every couple of years we'd pledge to reopen again one day. So here we are now based in the Bay Area in Oakland. It's 2016 and we're back making new work again. We are Nick Cohen, Jon Soto, Stephanie Foster, Paul Golubovich plus a growing array of other talented crazies who make anything Mad Dogs want to dream up for our clients a possibility. Come talk to us. 




Core Team

Nick Cohen Co-Creative Chief

Don't be put off by Nick's slightly disturbing caterpillar-esque eyebrows

Don't be put off by Nick's slightly disturbing caterpillar-esque eyebrows

Beyond his devotion to family and beloved Man Utd football team, Nick's dedicated most of his life to trying to make advertising less toxic and more loved. After helping put London-based agency Mavity Gilmore Jaume on the creative map, Nick moved to New York where he worked for TBWA/CHIAT and Ogilvy New York before founding upstart agency, Mad Dogs & Englishmen in 1991 and leading it to become the 4 AAAAs Small Agency of the Year. Beyond Mad Dogs, Nick also helped Wieden + Kennedy grow a dynamic new office in Shanghai, ahead of the Beijing Olympics. In the last 25 years, Nick has helped create memorable work for a wide range of clients from MTV to The Village Voice, Amnesty International to Dos Equis and Volvo, Audubon to Nike to Converse to Gatorade, along the way winning a bunch of industry awards, teaching advertising and serving on the board of the One Club for Art and Copy. 


Jon Soto / Co-Creative Chief

It's hard not to find one's self fixating on Jon's odd frontal tooth gap

It's hard not to find one's self fixating on Jon's odd frontal tooth gap

Over the course of his career Jon’s done award winning, memorable work at some of the most forward thinking shops in advertising, including BBDO/SF, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, TBWA/Chiat/Day and Hal Riney, as well as being a founding creative when Mad Dogs first started. Jon’s style can be described as playful, provocative and honest.  Tirelessly able to get to the essence of the problem at hand, without ever forgetting that the simplicity of truth is all it really takes to get people to respond. His work has been celebrated in almost every international advertising show, having won multiple One Show Pencils, slot in the Clio Hall of Fame, Gold Effies, and several Cannes Lions, including a Grand Prix in film for Nike. Heck…he’s even won an Emmy. All that, whilst responsibly raising two nutty boys and skateboarding to work everyday from Bart.


Stephanie Foster / Account Director

Her dimple more than makes up for Steph's anger management issues

Her dimple more than makes up for Steph's anger management issues

From leading startups developing their go-to-market strategy, to guiding established brands through the rollout of a national advertising campaign – Stephanie knows how to lead teams through the initial conception of an idea, all the way to execution. Stephanie has spent years crafting her skills around brand strategy, customer experience design, client management and creative production at leading agencies such as Leo Burnett, Venables Bell & Partners, TDA_Boulder, and was the VP of Brand & Marketing at a startup accelerator. She’s had the pleasure of working on a variety of brands including Audi of America, French’s Food, 76, Conoco, Phillips 66, Russian Standard Vodka, UC Berkeley, Tyra Banks, VMware, TaskRabbit, Blue Headphones, and the list goes on. In her spare time, you can find her in tree pose, rooting for the Broncos, on stage making people laugh, or camping off of an old trail road. 


Paul Golubovich / Executive Producer

Paul's thick beard is oddly reassuring

Paul's thick beard is oddly reassuring

We’re lucky to have Paul’s leadership, as he’s long been one of the industry’s most sought after producers in the broadcast and digital content arenas. With a degree in Broadcast Communication Arts from San Francisco State University, Mr. Golubovich entered the broadcast realm through radio before transitioning to long form video production for television programming. Following this early grooming period, he pursued an opportunity as a visual effects producer before becoming a broadcast producer for various national and boutique agencies.  It’s in advertising where Paul found he was able to integrate his creative sensibilities with his finely honed producing skill set, working with talent as diverse as John Legend, Donald Sutherland, Willie Nelson, Paul Reubens, Stanley Tucci, Missy Pyle and Snoop Dogg, all the while remaining his calm and centered self! Paul resides in San Anselmo with his wife and three daughters.


Devoted Partners


Karin Knutson / Brand Strategy

Whether you call it account planning, brand strategy, connection planning, insert-latest-newly-named-discipline here or just plain ‘strategy,’ that’s what Karin does. Karin has spent two decades honing her craft as an strategist, spearheading departments and brands at some of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies including Wieden + Kennedy, Venables Bell & Partners and Fallon Worldwide. Karin has worked on many world-class brands including Nike, Google, Target, Proctor & Gamble and Coke. Her work has been acknowledged through various industry awards including EFFIEs, Cannes Lions, Clios, Kellys and more. Karin’s favorite pastimes are people watching (anywhere, anytime), pretending she’s a chef, reading anything with sarcasm and spending time with her husband, daughter, six toed cat and heterochromatic dog


Shannon Gillmore / Brand Strategy

Over the past 20 years, Shannon has had the opportunity to travel the world talking with consumers and gaining valuable insight into what they buy, how they think, and what drives them to advocate for a brand. She has helped solve marketing challenges and craft successful strategies for a diverse range of clients including Facebook, Walmart, Google, IBM, Hershey, Bacardi, Capital One, Dish, HBO, Chevron, HP, Pinnacle Foods and many more. Whether working with large global brands or up-and-coming start-ups, she remains dedicated to finding the insight that meaningfully connects consumers and brands.  When not working, Shannon enjoys traveling and trying to make her kids laugh, which keeps her young and teaches her how to crack a tough audience, which is why we love her!


Anne Tway / Brand Strategy

Anne has over 20 years experience as a brand planner and a marketing communications strategist. Her expertise lies in translating customer needs into strategic insights that inspire creative and creates a lasting connection between the brand and the target. After starting her career in NYC, Anne felt the energy and allure of the frenzy and made the move to the West coast. Over the years, Anne has lead brand, product and creative strategy for Facebook, HP, Microsoft, Sprint, Altoids, Del Taco, Jamba Juice, Beringer Wines, The Discovery Channel, BMW, Saturn, 24 Hour Fitness, Old Navy, The North Face, Capital One, City of Hope, and more. Not someone particularly good at sitting still, Anne’s perfect day would start with a hike, involve loads of body surfing in warm water, and end with a table full of happy family and friends surrounded by delicious food and good tequila. 

Ways & Means / Media Planning

Ways and Means, one of our favorite media planning and buying partners, is led by Karen Halstead and Diana Ahrens.  Karen has over 25 years of experience in media and has a client roster that spans almost every industry. Before founding Ways & Means, Karen led a wide variety of agency media teams including Mekanism, Eleven, Inc., Universal Mc-Cann San Francisco, and TBWA/Chiat/Day San Francisco. Her first nine years in the industry were spent in New York. Karen holds an MBA from New York University and a Bachelor’s of Science from Georgetown University.  Diana has over 10 years of experience in marketing and media and has managed agency and in-house media programs for some of the best known brands in the country. Before starting Ways and Means, Diana was the Director of Marketing for GOOD Worldwide. Prior to that she worked with Karen to build the media department at Eleven, Inc., leading Virgin America's media program for four years. Diana graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in Linguistics and Mandarin...fancy!


Brad Ziff / Media Planning

What we like about working with Brad is his ability to take a big idea or very small bite and execute by paving deeper into consumer mindsets, behaviors and attitudes. It perfectly leverages the way we try to connect with people as an agency. Beyond his work with Mad Dogs, Brad has 12 years of experience working with well-respected agencies such as Grey, Venables Bell & Partners and Heat. He is an equal opportunist across all channels and has expertise in digital, mobile, experiential formats and prides himself on being an ethical and skillful negotiator. He's worked with a client list that includes Audi, Barclays Bank, Chobani, Coca Cola, eBay, Kraft, Lyft and Russian Standard Vodka. In his down time, he enjoys stalking his local purveyors for Pliny the Elder beer and seeing live music during all months of the year. 

The Distillery / Analytics 

Jenny Dyke started The Distillery in 2012.  She has 14 years of research experience, including three years of PR research.  She spent eight years with Hall & Partners, working with brands including Microsoft, Citrix, eBay, T-Mobile, Dropbox, Mozilla, Kia and Visit California.  She then started and grew the quantitative business for research boutique, Talk Shoppe. With a BSc in Business Economics from Queen Mary College, University of London, she has an appreciation for numbers and understanding the whys behind decision making.


Brand Zoo / Identity and Design

Brand Zoo founders Phil Battat and Courtney Reeser are senior brand experts who escaped from the jungle of traditional and large brand, marketing and digital agencies. To quote them..."We think there is a place in the client world for a different type of design partner. One that is smaller, nimble and efficient. One that can zero in on smart ideas and create great design. One that understands today's budget and timing realities." What they omit to say is what a talented group of designers and brand thinkers they've gathered, which is why we're keen to partner with them.


14four / Digital Design

14Four is an interactive agency we partner with to create, develop and execute digital campaigns and site builds. They specialize in UX strategy, web design, programming and their team of developers; designers and project managers work hard to ensure that our visions become a reality. (Always with that special 14Four touch we at Mad Dogs love.) They've done amazing work for many great clients, including Google, Nike, Sony and Facebook.