PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Dan Wieden, who coined the phrase for which Nike is still famous, died Friday at his Portland home at the age of 77.
Wieden formed Wieden + Kennedy with David Kennedy on April Fool’s Day 1982 in Portland.
Wieden, who stepped away from an everyday role with the company in 2015, is credited with coining the phrase, “Just do it.”
The famed agency was responsible for iconic campaigns and a trailblazing documentary-style ad from Honda. Its shaky-camera technique was widely imitated thereafter in the industry.
In a statement, Wieden + Kennedy said:
“We are heartbroken. But even more so, we are overcome with gratitude and love. Thank you, Dan, for throwing the doors wide open for people to live up to their full potential. Thank you for your steadfastness, courage, faith, and abiding love. Thank you for making this beautiful creative life possible. We will miss you so much.”
Oregon Historical Society Director Kerry Tymchuk said Wieden + Kennedy was very important for Portland.
“Just as companies like Nike and Columbia made Portland ground zero for the sports apparel industry, Dan Wieden and Wieden + Kennedy made it ground zero for the creative industry,” Tymchuk said. “Other advertising firsts, other marketing firms kept coming to Oregon because they got their start at Wieden + Kennedy or were attracted here to what Wieden + Kennedy was doing.”
Kennedy died almost a year ago at the age of 82.
Wieden was born and raised in Portland, graduating from Grant High School and the University of Oregon, where he earned a degree in journalism. Wieden supported and created local non-profits.
Dan Wieden’s family asks that remembrances be made as gifts to Caldera Arts, a non-profit he created that supports Oregon students and artists.