Independent agency Wieden & Kennedy, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is widely regarded as one of the world's finest creative agencies, originally as a result of its superb work over the years for founding client Nike. During the late 1990s, the agency opened a clutch of international offices but was initially hit by a series of staff problems, as well as fickle clients. It had recovered from these by 2002, and has steadily broadened its global reach, initially to service Nike but subsequently adding other blue chip global clients. As a result, Wieden & Kennedy's reputation is arguably as strong in Europe or Asia as it is in the US. Its offices in Amsterdam and London rank among the region's most admired agencies, and there also outposts in China, India, Japan and Brazil. It is the only remaining privately owned agency to operate a truly global network. Dan Wieden still serves as chairman emeritus and majority owner of the business, but day-to-day activities are overseen by global chairman Dave Luhr. Colleen DeCourcy - named as Adweek's Agency Creative Leader of the Decade at the end of 2019 - is co-chief creative officer with Susan Hoffman, and also co-president with Tom Blessington. AdAge estimated global revenues of $330m for the group in 2018, including $208m in the US. The agency was originally formed in 1982 in Portland, Oregon, by former McCann-Erickson staffers Dan Wieden and David Kennedy. The sportswear company was their first client, and it was Wieden himself who coined Nike's legendary "Just Do It" slogan. Although, the agency still retains its original name, Kennedy retired from the business in 1993.
Capsule checked 17th February 2020
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Adbrands Daily Update 1st Feb 2020: "Show Up". Is there any Super Bowl advertiser who hasn't already unveiled their commercial ahead of tomorrow's game? Among the latest deluge is Coca-Cola who released the full film for its Coke Energy spot a day after teasing a 15-second edit. Considering the talent involved - the agency is Wieden & Kennedy Portland and the ad stars Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill and rapper YBN Cordae - it's a shame it's not a better ad. But still, Martin Scorsese! As if he needs more energy. Apparently, Jonah Hill was signed first for the spot and was asked if he had any suggestions for who could play his friend. It was he who suggested Scorsese - they've been pals since 'Wolf of Wall Street'. We bet Coke and W&K couldn't believe their luck when Marty said yes. It's been a busy week for Jonah Hill, who also debuted as a commercials director with a spot for Adidas.
Adbrands Daily Update 30th Jan 2020: "Perfect Made Perfecter". Wieden & Kennedy New York debuted its first work for McDonald's during the Grammys telecast, and we'd have to say it's the tastiest US campaign for years from the fast food giant. It's quite a back-to-basics approach, concentrating on the food and nothing but the food. In fact, just the Quarter Pounder. But the whole exercise gains considerable impact from a memorable slogan, fabulous photography, clever scripts, and also the deliciously mellifluous tones of Logan Roy - sorry, Brian Cox - who's really come into his own in the past couple of years. It's not often that you'll find yourself physically salivating over an ad, but this is one of those times. Admittedly, I've never seen a McDonald's Quarter Pounder that looks quite as good as this in real life... but I can always dream.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Jan 2020: "All People Are Tax People". It's that time again. Let's face it: doing your tax return isn't the highlight of anyone's year, not even your accountant's. But Wieden & Kennedy make it something close to a pleasure with witty and entertaining campaigns like this for Intuit TurboTax. They only come around once a year and are always worth the wait. They must have lots of fun conjuring up each of these little scenarios. Here's the anthem spot, but you can expect to see several more popping up over the next three months.
Adbrands Daily Update 11th Dec 2019: "Qiang Diao". Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai's splendid new film for Nike China plays a little like a sports-themed version of Guy Ritchie's 'Snatch' movie. "Qiang Diao" is a Mandarin word that means "swagger" or "confidence", and it's something you have to earn; not a quality you can just buy. So this Chinese gazillionaire is going to be disappointed when he sends off his minion to get him some. Needless to say, Nike's message is that the best way to earn yourself some qiang diao of your own is through sports. The extended ad is lots of fun.
Adbrands Daily Update 24th Oct 2019: "Achieve Gamefulness". It's rare enough that we feature a single HP ad campaign here, let alone two in the space of a week. However, this new series from Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai for the company's specialist Omen gamer PCs is spectacular in both concept and execution. And also, of course, inimitably Chinese in its sensibility. The underlying theme is interesting too: HP wants to argue that playing videogames helps people improve their mental focus, stamina and teamwork skills. "This job was an interesting mix of technical challenges," said Alex Mavor of director partnership The Sacred Egg. "It really had it all: a massive set build, heavy CGI, stunts... 60 lights choreographed to music and celebrity gamers." [Professional esports champs LoveZrr, Wink and AmazingJ make appearances]. "We always try to achieve an aesthetic that is unique to each project. This, in particular, was an amazing opportunity to create a brand universe with its own look, tone, characters and rules. Something that is entirely unique and ownable for Omen and which gamers want to be a part of."
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