Wieden + Kennedy co-founder Dan Wieden, dies age 77

Dan Wieden, founder of agency Wieden + Kennedy and writer of Nike’s legendary “Just Do It” line, has died age 77.

His agency tweeted the news with the words, “Thank you Dan, for throwing the doors wide open for people to live up to their full potential. We will miss you so much.”

Born and bred in Portland, Oregon, Wieden founded the agency in 1982 with David Kennedy, who died a year ago. The pair, who met at McCann-Erickson Portland, grew Wieden + Kennedy into an international network of eight offices, employing 1,500 people worldwide. The agency is owned by a trust to ensure its continued independence.

Rival agency Goodby Silverstein tweeted, “If advertising could have holy people, Dan Wieden was certainly one of them. He spoke to those of us well beyond his own company, telling us it was critical to do things that had never been done before, and convincing us all that those things were already inside of us.”

Wieden received the President’s Award from D&AD, the lifetime achievement award from Clio, and in 2012 received the Lion of St. Mark award from the Cannes Lion International Festival of Creativity.

The family have asked that any gifts be made to Caldera Arts, a Portland-based charity that was originally set up by Wieden in 1996. It to bring young people with limited opportunities together with creative professionals to make art and be in relationship with the natural world.

Wieden is reported to have died peacefully at his home in Portland.

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