W+K advertising legend had big impact

Advertising is a humorous enterprise in that it’s leisure, using music, movie, and types folks love, but most of the people usually doesn’t know—or care—who’s behind it. After all, most advertising is fairly forgettable and so this dynamic works out simply effective. But some names are price understanding. David Kennedy, who was behind among the most culturally influential and memorable advertisements of the final century as cofounder of Wieden+Kennedy, is a kind of names.

Kennedy died on Saturday on the age of 82. The Portland, Oregon, company he cofounded with Dan Wieden in 1982 has created iconic advertisements and campaigns for Nike, Honda, Coca-Cola, ESPN, and plenty of different manufacturers. We will debate who would make up the Mount Rushmore of American advertising, however likely Kennedy can be there. As an artist and artwork director, he helped reimagine what advertisements may look, really feel, and sound like. Wieden wrote Nike’s well-known “Simply Do It” line, and Kennedy helped carry it to life.

Like “Walt Stack,” Nike’s first-ever Simply Do It advert, which starred an 80-year-old runner named Walt Stack jogging throughout the Golden Gate Bridge and detailed his each day 17-mile run. Kennedy was additionally intricately concerned in Nike’s famed “Bo Is aware of” collection of Bo Jackson advertisements, in addition to the legendary Air Jordan advertisements starring Spike Lee.


Kennedy formally retired from each day advertising life in 1993, however he was nonetheless an energetic presence on the company as much as his loss of life. Considered one of his most passionate initiatives was for one of many company’s longest-running accounts, the American Indian School Fund. The very newest work of his there launched on Sunday, the day after his loss of life. He served on the School Fund’s board of trustees and collaborated for a few years with Native American artists and the Pendleton Woolen Mills Firm to provide a line of limited-edition blankets for the School Fund, based mostly on conventional indigenous designs and legends.

Wieden+Kennedy quickly modified its title on its web site to honor Kennedy. Began as a artistic outpost, removed from the advert business of Madison Avenue, W+K has turn into the world’s largest remaining unbiased company, with workplaces in New York, Amsterdam, London, Tokyo, Delhi, São Paulo, and Shanghai, creating high-impact advertising for big manufacturers like McDonald’s, Bud Gentle, KFC, Previous Spice, and Ford. And, in fact, Nike.

The company is within the course of of making a becoming tribute to its cofounder, however despatched Quick Firm a observe together with one thing Dan Wieden as soon as stated about his enterprise accomplice. “David Kennedy’s coronary heart and soul and neural pathways are etched deep inside Wieden+Kennedy,” stated Wieden. “It’s who we’re, it’s what we do and it’s why we do it.”

Born in Kansas in 1939, Kennedy was the son of an oil-field wildcatter. He received his artwork diploma in 1962, and began his profession in advertising in Chicago earlier than heading to work at McCann-Erickson in Portland in 1978. At McCann, he met Wieden and inside a couple of years they determined to begin their very own company. Kennedy told The Oregonian in 2010 why the 2 hit it off:  “Dan had 4 youngsters and lived within the nation, and I had 5 youngsters and needed to reside within the nation.” Maybe it’s no shock that Kennedy helped revolutionize advertising, given how he noticed the business in his early years. “I used to lie when folks requested me what I did,” he advised The Oregonian. “I advised them I simply labored in graphic design.”

His artistic business work has received most each main advert business award recognized to humanity, however maybe his most enduring legacy is how he made it protected for subsequent generations to inform the reality about the place they work.