After two wifes, four children and the educational non profit organisation Caldera; after establishing W+K (Wieden & Kennedy) and proving that an independent, creatively led agency can make meaningful, progressive and challenging work for a diverse client base, there’s no doubt that Dan Wieden just did it!.
He passed by last Sunday at his 77 years old.
From Portland to the world
He grew up in Portland, USA, graduated from the University of Oregon and worked briefly in public relations before applying his writing talents to the advertising business.
In 1982 he, together with his creative partner David Kennedy, established Wieden+Kennedy. with the upstart company Nike as their first client.
After being told by Phil Knight, Founder of Nike, that ‘He didn’t believe in advertising’, both creatives set about making some of the greatest advertising ever done. Among other things, Dan Wieden coined the Nike tagline ‘Just Do It’.
About 40 years later, the agency that started with five employees, now has offices in Portland, New York, London, Amsterdam, Delhi, Shanghai, Tokyo and São Paulo with over 1,200 employees around the world.
Wieden+Kennedy has grown to become a global brand by its own merit, that operates 24 hours a day, in diverse languages, on projects as varied as branding international companies, operating an experimental advertising school and producing sports documentaries and TV series while releasing some of Japan’s best music through W+K Tokyo Lab.
Dan Wieden has managed to prove that an independent, creatively led agency can make meaningful, progressive and challenging work for one of the widest clients portfolio around the planet including some of the world’s most recognisable brands such as Coca-Cola, Chrysler, Delta Airlines, ESPN, Heineken, Honda, Kraft, Levi’s, Nike, Old Spice and Procter & Gamble.
Lion of St. Mark in 2012 and not at work every day in the agency since 2015
In 2015, Dan Wieden stopped daily work at W+K, but this happened not before he was presented the Lion of St. Mark at Cannes Lions 2012.
Among other merits, Cannes Lions organizers recognize that Titanium Lions cattegory was launched thanks to Dan Wieden’s support.
Wieden and David Kennedy were listed as number 22 on the Advertising Age 100 ad people of the 20th century. He was named one of America’s 25 most intriguing entrepreneurs by Inc. Wieden has been Oregon’s Professional of the Year, Oregon’s Entrepreneur of the Year, one of the world’s 50 CyberElite by Time magazine, and one of 32 members of the One Club Creative Hall of Fame. Wieden was featured in Doug Pray’s documentary Art & Copy.
Far beyond accolades
Far beyond the many prizes, accolades and recognitions, which Dan Wieden has received, the clients appreciate his relentless ability to dream and inspire. His fight to remain independent and continue to provide a place where fellow dreamers can work has resulted in some of the best work of our time and an environment where people and clients both can flourish.
Today every Wieden and Kennedy office has at least one pro bono client and plays an active role in supporting the arts and culture of the host city.
Looking into the life inside the agency, humanity and love to dogs come together in one of the first pet friendly work places in the USA.
Every member of the staff can be sure that his/her dog will be welcomed as a memeber of W+K family should it put the paw in the agency.