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The 80’s seems like it was just yesterday

BlackDog Advertising was founded by John W. Penney in 1989. After graduating from the University of Florida with a BFA, John went to work at Crispin & Porter (now Crispin Porter + Bogusky). There he was fortunate to work under the art direction of Alex Bogusky, whom John regards as one of the most significant mentors of his early advertising career.

From the start, John recognized the importance of harnessing technology to help facilitate his creative ideas. However, few if any ad agencies at the time used computers in their studios. So in the late 80’s he made the move from C&P to start his own firm.

John was only a year out of college, with little money and even less business experience, but he had an idea. John put together a business plan and presented it to his father-in-law, Jim Kiltie. Jim, who is well known for helping all who come to him (whether they deserve it or not) loved the idea and offered to help.

Computer Village

With Jim’s assistance, John was able to finance an Apple II computer, CLC 500 color copier and scanner. In November 1989, they opened a small design shop in the back of Jim’s computer store. With his vast business experience, Jim quickly became John’s business mentor and guided him through many of the pitfalls of his early business career. Along with his parents, Pat and Jack Penney, John regards Jim as one of the most influential people in his life.

The Ma in Ma and Pop

John’s wife, Kathy, a University of Florida marketing grad, joined the business in 1997. Kathy brought a level headedness along with her business and marketing experience to add a new dimension to BlackDog.

Movin’ on Up

In 2000, along with their friends, the Gallos, John and Kathy purchased an 8,000 square foot building in South Miami, which they completely remodeled to create BlackDog studio.

We’ve gotten by with a lot of help from our friends

Along with an incredibly talented staff and thanks to the support of a loyal client base, some of whom have been with BlackDog for nearly 20 years (yes, we’re talking about you, HTA & DUS), the company has continued to grow. From humble beginnings in the back of a computer store to purchasing their own beautifully remodeled studio, BlackDog has come a long way and looks forward to the journey ahead.

About the Name

BlackDog Advertising is named in honor of John’s 100 pound Black Lab, “Dinkums”, whose majestic profile graces the BlackDog Advertising logo icon. Dinkums was with John in college and for 16 years thereafter. Dinkums went to many of John’s classes with him and was very well liked around campus. Currently John and Kathy have “Inky”, a 6 year old Black Lab.


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