Dan Wieden, Who Coined Nike’s Slogan “Just Do It” at His Prolific Portland Ad Agency, Dies at 77

Dan Wieden, the Portland advertisement person whose coining of the Nike slogan “Just Do It” vaulted his company Wieden+Kennedy into international prominence, died at property Friday, the corporation announced. He was 77.

Wieden was a person of the seminal figures in the emergence of Portland as a city that signified much more to the national consciousness than lumberjacks and rain. In 1982, he and David Kennedy started an advertising and marketing agency with just 1 client: a Eugene-dependent sneaker business named Nike.

Wieden, a University of Oregon journalism school graduate, lower his tooth at the McCann-Erickson agency, primarily earning advertisements for timber giant Ga-Pacific. But he and Kennedy attempted some thing various at their very own store: promoting in which an aura of interesting was additional important than a pitch for the solution in question.

The turning stage, which WW examined in a 2014 historical past of the town, came in 1985, with a location for Honda Elite scooters starring Lou Reed. Grainy footage of Reed zipping by New York’s Decrease East Aspect on a motorcycle was edited like a French New Wave film—and Nike, which experienced provided Wieden its lesser accounts, switched all of its business to the Portland upstart. 3 yrs later on, for an Air Jordan marketing campaign, Wieden himself crafted the three-phrase tagline that turned synonymous with Nike: “Just Do It.”

As WW recounted:

Wieden+Kennedy, of study course, grew up together with Nike, making not only the shoe giant’s legendary slogan but also most of its memorable advertisement campaigns, setting up with a series of spots starring then-underground director Spike Lee. Portland became regarded as an offbeat structure center housing not just Wieden+Kennedy but innumerable small boutique advert and advertising and marketing shops, a hub for the resourceful class that creator Richard Florida thought would save America, 1 Pearl District loft at a time.

The two organizations would collaborate on some some of the most legendary advertisement campaigns of the earlier 50 % century: the “Bo Knows” places, Charles Barkley declaring he was not a role product, and Colin Kaepernick exhibiting why he was one.

Wieden, meanwhile, presided around an place of work culture in Northwest Portland that turned popular for luring the most imaginative youthful people in The united states to promote Coca-Cola and Levi’s denims. In 2009, WW shown the attractions: “regular afternoon rock live shows, an indoor basketball court docket-cum-yoga studio, an espresso store, absolutely free Cokes in the machines, napping rooms, an annual pie-baking contest, legendarily mood-altered parties, stacks of specific-version Nike significant-tops wheeled as a result of the halls.” On the yearly Founder’s Day social gathering each individual April 1, Wieden+Kennedy’s 400 employees simultaneously downed a shot of ouzo.

By that time, the agency experienced workplaces in New York, Tokyo and London, and described extra than $1 billion in yearly billings.

Wieden remained a hallowed determine in the Pearl District places of work, identified as “Papa Bear” by little ones at his at-danger youth camp in Sisters and regarded equally by copywriters. One particular former worker recalled Wieden’s speech at the company’s 10-yr anniversary celebration in 1992: “I imagine you men and women just needed somebody to get the fuck out of your way.”

He stepped absent from working day-to-working day operations in 2015, nevertheless he in no way formally retired.

The corporation issued a statement Saturday.

“We are heartbroken,” it mentioned. “But even a lot more so, we are prevail over with gratitude and love. Thank you Dan, for throwing the doors large open for folks to stay up to their entire prospective. Thank you for your steadfastness, courage, religion and abiding enjoy. Thank you for creating this attractive resourceful existence feasible. We will skip you so substantially.

Wieden’s death will come nearly just just one 12 months just after the passing of his small business spouse, David Kennedy.

Maria Flores

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