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Forsman & Bodenfors advertising & marketing assignments

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Selected F&B advertising

Forsman & Bodenfors in its current form was formed in 2018 from the merger of MDC Partners' New York agency KBS - previously Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal - with Swedish creative hothouse Forsman & Bodenfors. Perhaps surprisingly, the KBS brand was dropped in favour of the Swedish brand. The combined agency has offices in the US and Canada, Sweden, Singapore and Shanghai. (A London office was sold in 2019). In 2004, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, as it was then, was one of the earliest acquisitions of MDC Partners. Former McCann NY president Lori Senecal joined the agency in 2009, adding her surname above the door to create Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal; original founders Richard Kirshenbaum and Jon Bond left not long afterwards, following their earn-outs from MDC. Senecal also eventually moved on, and MDC took the opportunity to merge the now leaderless US agency with Sweden's F&B, which it had acquired in 2016. Founded in 1988 in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, Forsman & Bodenfors was already among the world's most highly admired creative shops, not least for a series of bold and imaginative ads for Volvo Trucks which had picked up numerous accolades. These made F&B the world's most awarded agency in 2014, and it added another Grand Prix at Cannes in 2016, shortly before its acquisition by MDC. Founding partners Staffan Forsman and Sven-Olof Bodenfors departed the business after the deal, along with a few other employee shareholders, and F&B's CEO Erik Sollenberg transferred in 2017 to sister agency CP&B as its new CEO. Former JWT London chief Guy Hayward was appointed as global CEO of the enlarged F&B in 2018. The main agency serves as the hub for a small collection of satellite specialist agencies, mainly in the US. Chief amongst these until 2022 was media strategy agency The Media Kitchen, which handled F&B's planning requirements in the US as well as third-party business. Media Kitchen was merged into sister agency MMI in 2022. Advertising Age estimated revenues of $140m for F&B in 2019, including $62m in the US. Mike Densmore was appointed as CEO of F&B New York in 2019. Toby Southgate succeeded Guy Hayward as group CEO in 2021.

Capsule checked 29th December 2020

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Marketer Moves 25th May 2021: New CEO at Forsman & Bodenfors. See Marketer Moves (members only).

Adbrands Daily Update 20th Aug 2019: "The Cash Machine". Volvo Trucks tries something slightly different in its latest campaign for North America out of the local outpost of Forsman & Bodenfors (formerly KBS). Instead of highlighting the technical wonders of its heavy trucks, it's targeting instead the financial aspirations of drivers themselves. You might not immediately think of driving a Volvo truck as the path to great wealth but F&B aims to show you how. Not sure how convincing the sales pitch is, to be honest, but it's certainly entertaining. Our favourite gag is the last one.

Adbrands Daily Update 20th Jun 2019: Volvo and agency Forsman & Bodenfors collected the Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in the Creative Strategy category with their innovative and philanthropic 'EVA Initiative' project. Because of Volvo's long-standing commitment to the highest standards of vehicle safety, it has more data about actual road traffic collisions since the 1970s than any other auto manufacturer. One crucial finding in its research was that in general women are more at risk in collisions, because the data from industry-standard crash test simulations mostly involves male dummies. As a result, Volvo made its huge library of real world research available to everyone via its website under the banner of EVA - or "Equal Vehicles for All", as well as simulations for specific female passenger types.

Adbrands Social Media 25th Oct 2018: Volvo and agency Forsman & Bodenfors try to summon up a little of that old magic with this entertaining ad for - of all things - heavy diggers. Their truck ad a few years back featuring Jean-Claude van Damme's "epic split" caused a global sensation, but it's fair to say that Dolph Lundren is no van Damme, lacking the Muscles from Brussels' sense of sense-parody or indeed any discernible acting skills. And earth excavators don't really have the sexiness of a big ol' truck. So, nice try but no cigar. Even so, it's not every day you get a spot for construction equipment so let's enjoy the moment, even with a few reservations.

Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Oct 2018: Ads Of The Week: "Smile". Here's a cute historical gag for Swedish insurer AMF from local hot shop Forsman & Bodenfors, which has itself recently been granted a global footprint with its takeover of New York's KBS. Perhaps the funniest aspect of the ad is the sheer absurdity of the suggestion that the real cause of the Mona Lisa's half-smile is a workplace pension. Nice production values too.

Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Sep 2018: MDC is to merge its US-based agency KBS with Swedish creative hothouse Forsman & Bodenfors, acquired by the group in 2016. In an unexpected move, the combined unit will adopt the Forsman & Bodenfors name and the KBS brand will scrapped. Current KBS CEO Guy Hayward will continue to lead the merged network, with F&B's Anna Qvennerstedt as chairman. Following its acquisition by MDC, F&B was originally aligned with Crispin Porter & Bogusky, and the Swedish shop's CEO Erik Sollenberg eventually transferred to the US to lead the global CP&B network.

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