Ad Executive Dan Wieden Came Up With Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ Tagline
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Ad Executive Dan Wieden Came Up With Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ Tagline

Oregon native, who has died at age 77, co-founded Wieden+Kennedy and advised colleagues to ‘walk in stupid every morning’

By JAMES R. HAGERTY
Thu, Oct 6, 2022 9:20amGrey Clock 3 min

One thing Dan Wieden didn’t want to do as a young man was to follow his father into the advertising business. “I could never figure out why he was in such a whorish industry,” Mr. Wieden told Adweek magazine in 2003.

In the mid-1960s, he majored in journalism at the University of Oregon. He married young and had children in his 20s. That meant a need for steady income and led to advertising. The challenge of packing a lot of meaning into a few words hooked him. In 1982, he joined David Kennedy to found the ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, based in Portland, Ore.

They had one client: Nike Inc., then a small company. It was a perfect fit. Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder, loathed conventional advertising. The new agency’s founders were inclined to pitch ads that were offbeat, edgy and artistic. In 1988, Mr. Wieden came up with Nike’s tagline, “Just Do It.”

The Nike ads helped vault a tiny regional shop into a global advertising firm. Subaru of America hired Wieden+Kennedy in 1991. Since then a long list of clients has included Starbucks Corp., Microsoft Corp., McDonald’s Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. The firm has about 1,500 employees and offices in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

To avoid the risk of being gobbled up by a giant holding company, Mr. Wieden created a trust to preserve the firm’s independence.

Mr. Wieden died Sept. 30 at his home in Portland. He was 77 and had Alzheimer’s disease. His partner, Mr. Kennedy, died a year ago at the age of 82.

Mr. Wieden (pronounced why-den) attributed the firm’s success partly to a habit of hiring misfits and oddballs rather than seasoned advertising pros. As for managing people, he said, “I think people need to feel safe but still under pressure in some weird way, a healthy pressure. People need to feel that you’re rooting for them to succeed.”

Wary of complacency, he advised advertising people to “walk in stupid every morning.” As he put it: “The minute you think you know, the minute you go, ‘oh, yeah, we’ve been here before, no sense reinventing the wheel,’ you stop learning, stop questioning, and start believing in your own wisdom, you’re dead.”

Messrs. Wieden and Kennedy “didn’t really dictate or mandate,” said Bill Davenport, a longtime colleague. “They let people find their way. In some ways, it was a sink-or-swim culture. But they never had a heavy hand.”

Dan Gordon Wieden was born March 6, 1945, and grew up in Portland. His father, Francis “Duke” Wieden, was president of Gerber Advertising.

After graduating from the University of Oregon in 1967, the younger Mr. Wieden wrote marketing material for Georgia-Pacific Corp. He hated the job and, by his own admission, created so much trouble that he finally got fired. He tried freelance writing and then joined the ad firm of McCann-Erickson. There he met Mr. Kennedy, whose artistic skills and humor complemented Mr. Wieden’s writing talent.

At first, their office was furnished with a card table and cardboard file cabinets. They used a pay phone to call clients.

The firm set itself apart by using a collage of New York street scenes, featuring Lou Reed and his song “Walk on the Wild Side,” to promote Honda scooters. A few years later, Wieden+Kennedy combined the versatile athlete Bo Jackson with Bo Diddley in an ad for Nike.

Mr. Wieden’s first wife, Bonnie Scott Wieden, died in 2008. He married Priscilla Bernard in 2012. She survives him, along with four children, six grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

In 1996, Mr. Wieden and his family founded , which runs a summer camp at Blue Lake in central Oregon and other programs to nurture young people. “He wanted to create a place where kids felt safe and loved,” his wife said.



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The Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index reveals investments of passion are paying strong dividends, in some areas at least

By Bronwyn Allen
Tue, Apr 9, 2024 4 min

Art was the investment of passion that gained the most in value in 2023, according to Knight Frank’s Luxury Investment Index (KFLII). This is the second consecutive year that art has risen the most among the 10 popular investments tracked by the index, up 11 percent in 2023 and 29 percent in 2022. Art was followed by 8 percent growth in jewellery, 5 percent growth in watches, 4 percent growth in coins and 2 percent growth in coloured diamonds last year.

The weakest performers were rare whisky bottles, which lost nine percent of their value, classic cars down six percent and designer handbags down four percent. Luxury collectables are typically held by ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) who have a net worth of US$30 million or more. Knight Frank research shows 20 percent of UHNWI investment asset portfolios are allocated to collectables.

In 2023, the KFLII fell for only the second time, with prices down 1 percent on average.

Despite record-breaking individual sales in 2023, a surge in financial market returns contributed to a shift in allocations impacting on luxury asset value,” the report said. “… our assessment reveals a need for an ever more discerning approach from investors, with significant volatility by sub-market.

Sebastian Duthy of AMR said the 2023 art auction year began with notable sales including a record price for a Bronzino piece. But confidence waned as the year went on.

“It was telling that in May, Sotheby’s inserted one of its top Old Master lots – a Rubens’ portrait – into a 20th Century Modern evening sale. But by then, it was clear that the confidence among sellers, set by the previous year’s record-busting figures, was ebbing away. In the same month, modern and contemporary works from the collection of the late financier Gerald Fineberg sold well below pre-auction estimates.”

The value of ultra contemporary or red-chip’ art contracted the most in 2023.

“Works by a growing group of artists born after 1980 have been heavily promoted by mega galleries and auction houses in recent years. With freshly painted works in excess of £100,000 almost doubling in 2022, it was little surprise that this sector was one of the biggest casualties last year. There is a risk there are now simply too many fresh paint artists with none really standing out.”

In the jewellery market, Mr Duthy noted that demand was strongest for coloured gemstones of exceptional quality, iconic signed period jewels, single-owner collections, and items with historic provenance in 2023. In the watches market, Mr Duthy said collectors chased the most iconic and rare timepieces.

A Rolex John Player Special broke the model record when it sold for £2 million at Sotheby’s in May, double the price for a similar example sold at Phillips in 2021,” he said.

Although whisky was the worst-performing collectable in 2023, it has delivered the highest return on investment among the 10 items tracked by the index over the past decade, up 280 percent. Andy Simpson of Simpson Reserved, said 2023 was a challenging year but the best of the best bottles gained 20 percent in value. In my opinion some bottles that lost significant value in 2023 will return through the next two years as they are simply so scarce and, right now at least, so undervalued, Mr Simpson said.

Whisky was the worst performing collectable in 2023 but it had highest return on investment over a 10-year period. Image: Shutterstock

Classic car expert Dietrich Hatlapa said the 6 percent fall in collectable vehicle values in 2023 followed a 22 percent surge in 2022. The strong performance of other investment classes such as equities may have dampened collectors’ appetites it’s a very small market so it only takes a minor change in portfolio allocations to have an effect, and there has also probably been a degree of profit taking. However, we have seen some marques like BMW (up 9 percent in value) and Lamborghini (up 18 percent), which appeal to a younger breed of collector, buck the trend in 2023.”

Mr Duthy said a dip in the share price of the top luxury handbag brands last Autumn appeared to spook investors. Last autumn it was possible to pick up an Hermès white Niloticus Himalaya Birkin in good condition for under £50,000. The recent slide reflects a general correction at the upper end that’s been underway for some time rather than changing attitudes to the harvesting of exotic skins.

According to Knight Frank’s Attitudes Survey, the top five investments of passion among Australian UHNWIs are classic cars, art and wine. Fine wine values gained just 1 percent in 2023 as the market continued its correction, said Nick Martin of Wine Owners. “It’s been a hell of a long run, so I’m not that surprised. Some wines from very small producers that had enjoyed the most exuberant growth have seen the biggest drops. It had got a bit silly, £50 bottles had shot up to £200 or £300.”

Favourite investments of passion: Australia vs Global

1. Classic cars (61 percent of Australian UHNWIs vs 38 percent of global UHNWIs)
2. Art (58 percent vs 48 percent)
3. Wine (48 percent vs 35 percent)
4. Watches (42 percent vs 42 percent)
5. Jewellery (18 percent vs 28 percent)

Best returns among investments of passion (10 years)

1. Whisky 280 percent
2. Wine 146 percent
3. Watches 138 percent
4. Art 105 percent
5. Cars 82 percent

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