The 2009 Creativity 50: Dan Wieden

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It's no doubt difficult to be burdened with a creative legacy stocked with the likes of "Just Do It," ESPN and the more recent revitalization of the Coca-Cola brand, but Wieden Kennedy continued to live up to its reputation with a creatively stellar 2008. Last year, the agency turned out more standout work, from the David Fincher-directed "Fate" for Nike and Coke's charming "It's Mine" balloon fight, to Old Spice's "Swagger" and the voyeuristic "Somebody Else's Phone" web effort for Nokia.

The agency saw new creative management shifts with the promotion of Mark Fitzloff and Susan Hoffman to ECDs in Portland, roles previously held by Jelly Helm and Steve Luker, and with the hiring of new creative blood, like former TBWA Skittles duo Craig Allen and Eric Kallman, who were behind award winners like "Touch," "Beard" and "Pinata." The shop continued to develop its extracurricular side, launching W K Radio online and producing more musical releases out of the W K Tokyo Lab record label/workshop run by ECD John Jay. Co-founder Wieden says he also plans to expand into South America in the near future, yet no matter how big the agency grows, he has no intentions of changing its intimate and fluid creative environment. "It's a homegrown network," he says. "We hire in-country and we move folks around quite a bit from office to office, so all our fights are family fights. It really enriches our culture and creates the ability to communicate a lot easier because we're coming from the same bias."

Wieden, on his outlook for 2009: "We are full-steam ahead on digital and we're thinking of some ancillary surprises. If you can't redefine what an advertising agency is in the next couple of years, I think you've got some big problems. It's turned upside down, but for us, it's the most exciting of times."

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