NY Observer

RK Weighs in on Super Bowl…Ads

The New York Post called. Richard answered. See his take on the biggest ads from football’s biggest night.

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Buying a Piece of Bob Marley’s Song Catalog, and His Enduring Legacy

"Mr. Blackwell, who began his career selling Jamaican singles out of the trunk of his Mini Cooper in London, built Island into a major power with Marley, Steve Winwood, Cat Stevens, Grace Jones and U2. In recent years, he said, he has devoted himself to his Island Outpost collection of resorts and Blackwell Rum, shrinking his music publishing business to just a few employees."

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SWAT Helps Nyden Redefine Fashion

"Has This 35-Year-Old Swedish Man Figured Out the Future of Fashion?"

If you had to picture the future faces of fashion — the Karl Lagerfelds or the Donatella Versaces of tomorrow — you might conjure some blurry amalgamation of creative directors and influencers. People who may not have climbed the ranks of Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy (LVMH), or even picked up a sewing needle, but who have at least a million Instagram followers and six-degrees of separation from Kanye West.

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SWAT Flexes its Muscles


"SWAT Advertising Flexes Entrepreneurial Muscle With Equity Firm"

Richard Kirshenbaum, CEO of Swat Advertising—formerly NSG/Swat—has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, working with startups and small businesses and even co-founding Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum. Now, the business mogul has gone a step further...

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Greg Norman Company Shakes the Golf World

See how we helped Verizon, Greg Norman Company, GPSi, and Club Car shake the golf world at the Sports Marketing Symposium with Shark Experience.

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Up is Business

Get a taste of what business can be like with Wheels Up in our new corporate anthem spot for the most intelligent private aviation company.

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Havas Acquires The 88

SWAT is elated to announce our partner agency The 88 and founder Harry Bernstein have been acquired by Havas Worldwide.

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July 13, 2017

Williams Sonoma Loves Sicily

And SWAT does too. See our newest branding efforts for BONA FURTUNA, exclusively and officially launching at Williams-Sonoma
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April 16, 2017

RK weighs in on United scandal

Richard Kirshenbaum joins DeRay McKesson, key organizer of the Black Lives Matter Movement, on MSNBC to discuss the business and cultural implications of the United Airlines scandal.
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December 25, 2016

The Most Interesting Man in the World.

Chris Blackwell talks being "unemployable," discovering Bob Marley, and Richard's role in tapping into the Blackwell's family history to create Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum.
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November 1, 2016

Is Ethical Fashion Just This Year's Model?

As more and more brands launch with socially responsible spins to their business, the big question is whether it’s just marketing buzz or truly authentic.
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October 26, 2016

In The Papers

Richard's NY Observer article "Season of the Brich" was featured on NY1, check out what they have to say at 06:25!
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October 21, 2016

Let's Stay Together

Richard’s 2014 NY Observer column “The New Divorce is No Divorce” will be developed into a new ABC Comedy “Let’s Stay Together” with the help of Amy B. Harris, Ben Silverman, and Jordan Schur.
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October 17, 2016

NSG/SWAT in the Delaney Report

Ad agency NSG/SWAT is keeping its eyes open for companies to invest in.
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October 7, 2016

Building the Jabonería Marianella Empire

Marianella Febres-Cordero and her son, David Foote, have done so well with their luxury soap business that it’s hard to believe it all started just a few years ago in her kitchen.
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September 6, 2016

Kings of Content

Watch Richard Kirshenbaum interview Morgan Spurlock and Ben Silverman at Advertising Week.
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August 1, 2016

Richard's 80 days revisited.

Read the new piece on the New York City legendary retailer Charivari, the final written work by iconic social writer Ingrid Sischy for Vanity Fair.
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July 20, 2016

Spruced Up

Our President, Brian Riordan, discusses the business and trends in men's grooming in a recent Daily Beast Style article.
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July 1, 2016

Modernist Masterpiece Restored

Our Executive Creative Director, Joseph Mazzaferro was just featured in Interior Design Magazine.
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July 14, 2017

Capri Like Katy Perry

The Best Guide to Italy's jet-set island

The waters around the Med’s most glamorous island are notoriously choppy but what’s a little queasiness between A List friends? In Ancient Roman times, the Emperor Tiberius decided to quit Rome and rule from Capri. Smart Emperor!!! He was also known for throwing his wives off the soaring cliffs when he tired of them. Gruesome, but Capri is peppered with legends dark and light, ensuring it remains an A -List destination to this day. Thanks to its remote location, soaring cliffs, emerald waters, luxury boutiques and fabulous hotels, Capri will always endure. After all, how can you go wrong in the land of grottos, gelato and jewelry?

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July 11, 2017

Top Ways to Do Rome Like the ‘A’ List

Luxuriate in the Glamour of the eternal city

Tired of the traffic jams on the Montauk Highway or freezing under a swanky blanket at Malibu’s top eateries? Consider the Italian islands of Capri and Sicily but first, go via Rome for a large dash of old-fashioned glamour. A great vacation is about rich experiences gathered in a short amount of time. It is also about sharing inside information.  No true A-lister has the time or patience for a D-list meal, a C hotel room or B cultural experience.  Exploring the old and curating the interesting, the new and the off–the-beaten path is what insiders want.

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May 4, 2017

The New 1% Royal-Style Wedding

Pippa Middleton's wedding really will be a quiet country affair compared to the competitive hoo-hahs of today's rich listers

As the barely audible houseman poured the Ott at the home of my friend Charles-in-Charge Card, the tech lothario, I saw something that resembled an 18th-century vellum-bound book resting on the thick slab of his white marble kitchen island.

“Are you catching up on your Shakespeare or is that an invitation from Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen?” I raised an eyebrow.

“It’s so and so’s son’s wedding invitation,” he stated, mentioning a filthy rich Greenwich financier who is central casting for the show Billions.

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April 10, 2017

Is Millennial Disease Here to Stay?

The easy-breezy, give-it-to-me-now attitude does not dissipate with age.

I want it and I want it NOW!

Socrates is often quoted, saying,  “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for elders…”

While complaining about the young is a timeless phenomenon, I wonder what the Athenian Philosopher would have made of today’s millennials, in residence in a home or company near you.

It was a balmy lunch at the uber chic Matador in Ian Shrager’s Edition Hotel in Miami. Everything was divine, which just proves that experience, talent and longevity do matter. We were lunching with a group of diverse business owners who were all down on Spring break. The conversation centered on what one could do to keep younger employees happy.

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February 28, 2017

How to Socialize With Couples Who Can’t Stand Each Other

Welcome to the buffer zone

Dana and I have come to the conclusion we have one great flaw as a couple. When it comes to meeting friends for dinner, we are invariably a half hour late.

We do care very much about good manners, are hopefully considerate and empathetic and always try and go above and beyond in social situations. That said, not everyone is perfect, and between running a client service business and three growing children, we just cannot seem to get out the door on time, no matter how hard we try. There is always a crise de la nuit—a child with a minor scrape in hysterics, a dog locked in the pantry, a late breaking business call from abroad, an older relative who is need of a prescription filled. Needless to say, we do eventually arrive, but most definitely on “Kirshen-time.”

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January 5, 2017

Get Skinny or Get Lost

Get Skinny or Get Lost – Competitive Dieting Is Now a 1% Sport You can never be too rich or too thin as long as you are more of either than everyone you know.

Before the chill, there was the thrill of a lengthy Indian summer which took New York into a balmy LA-style fall. Extended summer temperatures into late November meant less mandatory garments and more opportunities to show off one’s toned, spinned, dieted and yoga’d physique. After calorie and carb control; guns were ablaze and rock hard midriffs blinded the flabulous, making all the denial and hard work worth it. As one friend pointed out at dinner recently “Nothing you can eat is more delicious than being thin and fit.” Mimicking the famous Kate Moss quote of course “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.   That said, a raging new sport has emerged, now defining everything from eating to work- out habits, to couture. I call it Competitive Thinness, or CT SPORTS and it has reinforced the old adage you can never be too rich or too thin, 1% style.

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December 13, 2016

How the 1% Tip for the Holidays

December: When the 1% turn into ATM’s—automatic tipping machines

The current retail cycle is more than illogical, n’est-ce pas? In August, store windows display itchy wool sweaters, and corduroy trousers while it’s 99 degrees outside. (Note to unrealistic retailers: We know you want us to buy, but the summer now lasts till November, thanks to global warming.) Alongside forced and insane window displays, I began receiving other incongruous and untimely cash prods in October, namely—holiday tipping/gratuity lists.

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October 26, 2016

Season of the Brich

They're broke and rich—and living large on someone else's dime

Topping Rose House may be a fairly new Hamptons entry, but the restaurant has the patina of an authentic old-money Hamptons manse, despite the presence of two over-the-top and raucous reality stars. Each was applying lipstick and viewing the result in the reflection of her knife…après the main course. What could be next? Flossing after the dessert course in full view?

The scene was the perfect setting for an intimate conversation between friends, not about relationships or sexual peccadillos but about something much, much more titillating:

Money woes.

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October 5, 2016

Elite Status

The ‘2 Percent’ Aim to Make the Move to Elite Status

On a sizzling August night, Ironman and I were catching up over spicy hot Thai food while reveling in the icy air conditioning. We shared Instagram diaries of our summer vacations, a digital show and tell, as we nursed spicy green apple martinis with needle-thin, floating peppers.

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August 31, 2016

Private-Plane Parenting

'Child Support’ for the 1%

“Richard, Media Maestro is on the phone!"

My assistant Carol looked wide-eyed as she pointed to the landline, the sun streaming in my newish Tribeca office.

“Really? Put him through!” I was eager to hear what one of the busiest business execs on the planet wanted to discuss with me. Perhaps a new account for my ad agency NSG/SWAT, peut-être? I looked out from my perch with the bird’s eye view of the new World Trade Center.

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August 3, 2016

Viagra for the 1%

Real estate's mistress—and midlife crisis—economy

‍Real estate broker jargon is a wonderful economic litmus test, often mirroring social trends. It is always interesting to dissect what is really being said between the sales pitch and the constant harangue that everything always goes up, up, up! These days, many are loath to admit the market has leveled off in NYC, Miami and the Hamptons…but there is no denying the drag. As one formidable, established and honest broker recently told me, “The Hamptons market is positively sleepy, and in New York they’re shuttering retail. It’s getting scary. Even Billionaire’s Row is making a few adjustments.”

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June 30, 2016

Faking It

How Society Posers Climb Their Way to the Top – And Sometimes Disappear

“What ever happened to the So-and-So’s?” Brunette Hedge Fun-dress asked. She was referring to a socially ambitious NYC couple who had vanished into the ether.

“One minute they were trying to make a grand impression on the charity circuit, and then they disappeared in the night.” She waved her Bulgari’d hand as if in a magic show.

The scene was an extravagant birthday soirée for South American Firecracker, who was turning 39 for the 10th time. The Latin band and Chippendale-style models hoisted her to a bejeweled entrance and ovation.

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June 1, 2016

The New Nasty

Inside the World of High-Society Smackdowns

In a shimmering glass tower high above Avenue of the Americas, I sat in on a new-business meeting for my ad and branding agency NSG/SWAT. The potential client we were wooing was pulling no punches. “I want everyone to know that, if we work together, I am very demanding,” she said candidly.

“Well, you are clearly very smart, and demanding comes with the territory,” I responded. “We’re used to dealing with tough and successful clients.”

“Yes, but I am also…” She took a dramatic pause. “…mean!"

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May 9, 2016

Go Big or Go Home

When Living Large Means...Really Large

A few years back when I was handling the Moët and Hennessey accounts for my first ad agency, I found myself milling about at an event at Versailles. Wandering among a group that included a few minor French royals through this monument to sophistication and exuberance, I may have appeared a bit incongruous—obviously a native New Yorker despite my flute of bubbly. I was more intrigued, though, with thinking about how the gargantuan palace reflected the societal arc.

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March 23, 2016


When Your Mobile Device Takes Posession of Your Life

One of New York’s wealthiest congregations had turned out in droves for the funeral of one of their own, who had exited a bit earlier than anticipated. Boldfaced names entered the chapel, a sea of black Chanel, signature Van Cleef necklaces and Jackie O sunglasses. During the eulogy—given by the deceased’s daughter and fraught with emotion—many prominent businessmen in the audience appeared to be openly conversing on their cellphones, amidst an audible sprinkling of ring tones and some “shushing” from the older members of the audience. The coup de grâce was delivered by, of course, the cleric leading the service, when his phone went off during closing prayers. Quelle horreur!

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