• Dan Wieden, the Portland-Oregon-based advertising executive whose firm, Wieden + Kennedy, was one of the most influential agencies in the business, coming up with memorable, often offbeat campaigns that captured the zeitgeist in a phrase or image, has passed away at age 77.
When Wieden and David Kennedy founded their agency in 1982, they had just one client - Nike. And it was Wieden who coined the slogan, "Just Do It."
Willamette Week writes that Wieden "presided over an office culture in Northwest Portland that became famous for luring the most creative young people in America to sell Coca-Cola and Levi’s jeans. In 2009, WW listed the attractions: 'regular afternoon rock concerts, an indoor basketball court-cum-yoga studio, an espresso shop, free Cokes in the machines, napping rooms, an annual pie-baking contest, legendarily mood-altered parties, stacks of special-edition Nike high-tops wheeled through the halls.' On the annual Founder’s Day party each April 1, Wieden+Kennedy’s 400 employees simultaneously downed a shot of ouzo.
"By that time, the agency had offices in New York, Tokyo and London, and reported more than $1 billion in annual billings."
The story notes that on the company's 10-year anniversary, Wieden said to his assembled employees, "I think you people just needed somebody to get the f- out of your way.”
In a statement over the weekend, the agency released the following statement:
"“We are heartbroken. But even more so, we are overcome with gratitude and love. Thank you Dan, for throwing the doors wide open for people to live up to their full potential. Thank you for your steadfastness, courage, faith and abiding love. Thank you for making this beautiful creative life possible. We will miss you so much."