David Kennedy, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, dies at 82

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OregonLive 12 October, 2021 - 09:00pm 2 views

David Kennedy, Oregon advertising executive behind international campaigns, dies at 82

KGW.com 12 October, 2021 - 08:17pm

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PORTLAND, Ore. — David Kennedy, the cofounder of Wieden+Kennedy, a Portland-based, world-renowned advertising agency, has passed away at 82.

Kennedy helped establish the firm on April 1, 1982. He and his partner Dan Wieden went on to pilot internationally recognized campaigns, such as "Just Do It" for Nike.

Kennedy's death on Sunday was first reported in a detailed obituary in Adweek.

Since the company's founding, it has established offices around the world and continues to produce successful campaigns for large companies such as McDonald's, KFC, Nike, Honda, Dodge and Proctor & Gamble.

"Advertising at its best," UO advertising professor Deborah Morrison said.

Kennedy met with Morrison and her coauthor for a book about the creative process. He shared illustrations with them for the project.

For our book on the creative process, David Kennedy handlettered this gem. Glenn Griffin and I had a lunch with him where he explained creativity and life. Thanks for that wisdom. @WiedenKennedy pic.twitter.com/h7fMyX8iZQ

"Great creativity happens when heart and mind collide," Morrison said. "Advertising has so many things to fix within the industry... [David Kennedy] is a great ancestor for us, so how do we pull that through and become good ancestors for the next generation of talent?" 

Morrison emphasized Kennedy's focus on art and humanity, rather than simply trying to sell a product through advertising.

"It could make a kid look at something and say, 'I wanna do that. I have that aspiration.' That's remarkable stuff," she said. "His heart and his spirit of 'let's do work that matters,' always came through... I will remember that. I want to hold that dear."

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David Kennedy, Oregon advertising executive behind international campaigns, dies at 82

OPB News 12 October, 2021 - 08:17pm

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PORTLAND, Ore. — David Kennedy, the cofounder of Wieden+Kennedy, a Portland-based, world-renowned advertising agency, has passed away at 82.

Kennedy helped establish the firm on April 1, 1982. He and his partner Dan Wieden went on to pilot internationally recognized campaigns, such as "Just Do It" for Nike.

Kennedy's death on Sunday was first reported in a detailed obituary in Adweek.

Since the company's founding, it has established offices around the world and continues to produce successful campaigns for large companies such as McDonald's, KFC, Nike, Honda, Dodge and Proctor & Gamble.

"Advertising at its best," UO advertising professor Deborah Morrison said.

Kennedy met with Morrison and her coauthor for a book about the creative process. He shared illustrations with them for the project.

For our book on the creative process, David Kennedy handlettered this gem. Glenn Griffin and I had a lunch with him where he explained creativity and life. Thanks for that wisdom. @WiedenKennedy pic.twitter.com/h7fMyX8iZQ

"Great creativity happens when heart and mind collide," Morrison said. "Advertising has so many things to fix within the industry... [David Kennedy] is a great ancestor for us, so how do we pull that through and become good ancestors for the next generation of talent?" 

Morrison emphasized Kennedy's focus on art and humanity, rather than simply trying to sell a product through advertising.

"It could make a kid look at something and say, 'I wanna do that. I have that aspiration.' That's remarkable stuff," she said. "His heart and his spirit of 'let's do work that matters,' always came through... I will remember that. I want to hold that dear."

Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings.

Wieden+Kennedy co-founder David Kennedy dies at 82

AdAge.com 12 October, 2021 - 01:15pm

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David Kennedy, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy and one of the creative minds behind Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” campaign, died Sunday. He was 82. The agency has temporarily renamed itself Kennedy+Wieden in his honor.

“David Kennedy was the purest part of the heart of Wieden+Kennedy,” said agency President Colleen DeCourcy.

Kennedy met longtime partner and agency Co-Founder Dan Wieden when they both worked at McCann-Erickson in Portland, Oregon, in the late 1970s. In 1982, they made the (some said foolish) decision to go their own way, walking away from comfortable posts at an established shop. But they brought their client Nike with them.

Soon after, the fledgling agency created Nike’s first national TV spots, kicking off two decades of now-legendary work for the brand, putting the city of Portland on the creative map and proving that independent agencies could be as influential as their holding company peers.

“David had three passions. His family and creativity were on that list. But his passion for helping the little guy is what made him so unique. Those who are too often overlooked and under-valued. And inspiring them to step up and do great things,” said Dave Luhr, former chairman and president at W+K. “People often ask me what made W+K so special. David Kennedy made W+K so special. We lost a great one. His imprint and legacy will live on.”

Kennedy was born in Kansas in 1939. A welding apprenticeship at 13 instilled in him a lifelong appreciation for the craft, and he went on to study metal sculpture and printmaking at the University of Colorado, passions he continued even well after retirement.

In the early years of Wieden+Kennedy, the pair worked closely together on campaigns for a growing number of clients. Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed appeared a Honda scooter ad in 1985, one of the first to employ a shaky-cam. Nike debuted “Just Do It” in its 1988 spot “Walt Stack.” After that followed the “Bo Knows” spots and partnerships with Michael Jordan and Spike Lee.

Colin Kaepernick will front Nike's 30th-anniversary commemoration of its iconic #JustDoIt slogan. Take a look at the original advert https://t.co/ITmetyepWV. The 'Just do it' line made its debut featuring 80-year-old runner Walt Stack. "I run 17 miles every morning…”

Kennedy was “the quiet craftsman,” said Tom Blessington, W+K chairman. “Because he was quiet by nature, you had to seek David out to get to know him. But when you made the effort, you were rewarded with the friendship of a man with a huge heart, a gentle soul, a sharp wit, and a treasure trove of hilarious stories.”

He never quite made the complete transition from worker to administrator that people with their names on the door often undergo. There are tales of him taking out the recycling himself, even once the agency was well-established, and the outpouring of accolades and remembrances most often cite his humility and kindness.

Everything I've ever heard of David Kennedy was yes of course, his enormous talent, but moreover his massive humanity and kindness. Heroes are tough to come by in this business, but thank you for letting us have one. @WiedenKennedy much respect always. https://t.co/xqoNj37Z1u

He was curious about our work, curious about our lives and he was always ready to lend a hand in any way,” said Karl Lieberman, W+K chief creative officer. “The man was a legend, but he never fell into any of the trappings that could come with that.”

Kennedy made good on his pursuit of a quiet life, retiring in 1995 at the age of 55 to spend his time making art at his Oregon home. He was inducted into the One Club Creative Hall of Fame in 1999, the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame in 2003 and the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 2012.

Kennedy still worked on pro bono campaigns for a few clients, including the American Indian College Fund, where he sat on the board of trustees. The last work he touched ran as a full-page ad in the New York Times the day after he died.

His family has asked that any in memoriam gifts be made to the American Indian College Fund.

"He cared about what was right and always called bullshit on what was wrong. If you weren’t willing to scrub the floors you weren’t welcome at W+K. Craftsmanship was his middle name as witnessed in his ads and sculptures. I remember in the day when he would hand cut between words to perfect the spacing," said Susan Hoffman, global creative director and chair at W+K. "Thank you, David, for all you not only did for me but to all the many, many personal connections you and Dan Wieden are responsible for throughout the globe. W+K was an experiment and it worked."

I-Hsien Sherwood is the associate creativity editor at Ad Age. 

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