Dan Wieden

Published on .

Most Popular
For a long time,Nike has been what we talk about when we talk about Wieden. And Nike still provides much fodder for conversation—tongues, ours included, sure wagged when the agency's second skin client moved a piece of its running business to CPB this spring. But, lately, there have been so many, many more Wieden talking points. Coke, for example. The best of the agency's "Coke Side of Life" campaign made doing work for the notoriously difficult client look easy, culminating in a truly sweet creative victory—having the best spots in last year's ("Video Game" out of Portland and "Happiness Factory" out of Amsterdam) and this year's Super Bowl (Portland's "It's Mine"). The Factory, of course, has proved especially longlegged, with a sequel, a documentary and, recently, a website added to the franchise. Portland distinguished itself this year with a strong new campaign for Old Spice and New York continued to demonstrate the agency's entertainment chops with a well received TV series, Nimrod Nation. Meanwhile, W+K went on a new business killing spree, landing big ones like the global Nokia account,Visa World Cup duties and a couple of Heineken brands. And did we mention Nike? Among other Nike highlights, W+K produced a skateboarding film and threw in one of the best spots of the year—"Leave Nothing." A creative re-org put Jelly Helm and Steve Luker in charge of Portland and the agency forayed into India, while Papa Wieden himself remained the strong center, providing that fierce independence, hands-on creative leadership and spiritual guidance.

On getting big and staying good: "From the minute someone contacts you and says, 'Would you mind pitching this or talking to us?' is the first thing you ask 'What do you spend?' or is it 'Is it an interesting category' and 'Are there people there who are willing to experiment?' That's the main thing we look for. Because we are independent we know that if we continue to do good work the money will follow.We're not really all that good at politics, and sometimes our presentations suck, but what gets us out of trouble is the work. And the work may be a conceptual idea or a business idea or production of film and entertainment. And we're damn fun to work with."

Read more Creativity 50 profiles.
In this article: