Our Story

Katherine Kotaw, pondering her notes as a newspaper deadline loomed, was caught in an unguarded moment by a photojournalist

Katherine Kotaw, pondering her notes as a newspaper deadline loomed, was caught in an unguarded moment by a photojournalist.

Two dogs and a pack of llamas walked into a bar…

Are you waiting for the punchline?

Well, there’s no joke and no bar in our story.

But dogs and llamas did play pivotal roles in shaping and naming KOTAW Content Marketing.

The llamas came first.

Katherine Kotaw was a freelance journalist living in New York when an odd set of coincidences put her in touch with iconic ad man and former president of Young & Rubicam, Stephen Frankfurt, who wanted her to write a book about llamas — if she passed the spit test.

Llamas, Steve said, had good instincts. They befriended people they liked, spit on people they didn’t. And he warned Katherine that the smell of their spittle was noxious and could ruin her clothing.


The llamas didn’t spit. The book deal didn’t pan out but, thanks to the llamas’ nuzzled seal of approval, Katherine scored a much better deal: an education from an advertising legend who took out birth announcements asking the world to “Pray for Rosemary’s Baby,” goaded audiences into sampling Lay’s Potato Chips (“Bet you can’t eat just one”) and whose visionary work — credited as the vanguard of the Madison Avenue creative revolution — inspired the TV series Mad Men (his son was asked to create the show’s opening credits.)

All of this happened at a time when Internet marketing was in its infancy and the possibilities for pairing Katherine’s talents with the emerging platform were both unlimited and unproven.

Katherine took the plunge slowly, writing for mainstream publications by day and, at night, studying and testing digital marketing one client at a time.

This candid photo of Dakota cruising around San Diego with Katherine appeared, to Katherine’s surprise, in her local newspaper. Dakota, like Katherine, made headlines and personified Katherine’s storyteller mindset to ‘Seek Stories Everywhere.’


Her love of marketing mirrored the romance of Dakota and Woofie, the two dogs whose love story inspired the KOTAW name and philosophy.

On leash or off, Dakota rarely strayed from Katherine’s side until the day he spotted Woofie’s fluffy face. He knew instantly that the golden-furred beauty was the dog of his dreams.

Social Marketing Agency Inspired by the Love Story of Two Dogs | KOTAW Content Marketing

Woofie, the girl whose face launched a thousand stories.

Woofie wasn’t so sure about Dakota — or Katherine.

Although she was injured, hungry and abandoned, Woofie refused all offers of food, shelter and affection.

Dakota searched for her every day and night for three weeks, refusing to go home until she peeked out from behind a bush or emitted a reassuring bark.

On the 23rd day of the courtship ritual, Woofie followed Dakota home.

And the pair shared a romance usually reserved for the Hollywood screen.

Like Woofie’s love for Dakota, Katherine’s passion for marketing built slowly but never faltered. She understands the reservations of potential clients who need our help but don’t know if we deserve their trust.

And, like Dakota, Katherine and the KOTAW Girl Gang are prepared to do whatever it takes to earn your loyalty.

We’re even willing to submit to a spit test.

Story of KOTAW, boutique branding + storytelling studio - The love story of 2 dogs inspired the KOTAW creative business philosophy


Contact us today and we’ll make you fall in love with our collective of writing, social media and brand design services.


Ivy is KOTAW Content Marketing's Pit Bull Brand AmbassadorIvy is the red nose Pit Bull that represents the KOTAW Girl Gang‘s unwavering dedication to personal branding. Katherine and her daughters Bri and Kelsey figure that if they can rebrand pits as the loving, kind and gentle dogs they know them to be, they can rebrand anyone, bad reputations be damned!

That is why Ivy has been crowned KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador and why the KOTAW Girl Gang routinely posts pictures of Ivy in her naturally sweet state across all social platforms; pictures of her making babies smile and kittens purr!

Dakota passed away in January 2004 and Woofie met Ivy in February 2010. Woofie fell in love with Ivy’s sensitive, silly, sweet-hearted nature that reminded her of Dakota and spent the last three years of her life by Ivy’s side, two peas in a pod.

Woofie joined Dakota in Heaven in February 2013 and now Ivy has taken on Woofie’s role of making Katherine, Bri and Kelsey happy every single day which, along with her adopted tap dancing Poodle Doodle LuLU and her sweet magical kitten-cat fairy Doosis, she does to a tee!