Dan Wieden's Extreme Advertising Workshop

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Dan Wieden, president and founder of Wieden + Kennedy, is drawing criticism for an advertising workshop he recently taught at the University of Oregon that included unconventional assignments deemed "unethical" by some students and faculty. This according to UO's campus newspaper, the Daily Emerald. The paper reports that students were assigned stunts -- such as "streaking, objecting at a wedding and playing Twister with a trucker" -- aimed at helping them learn how "to creatively overcome their fears."

In the face of widespread criticism of the assigments, Tim Gleason -- Dean of the university's School of Journalism and Communication -- issued an open letter to the university community on Monday, expressing "deepest regret" and accepting "full responsibility" for the fact "that some students found themselves in a position that resulted in behaviors that are inconsistent with the mission, ethics, values and vision of the School of Journalism and Communication and the University of Oregon."

The school will not, however, sever its relationship with Wieden, who graduated from the School of Journalism in 1967 and has led an annual advertising workshop there for the last 12 years. "The School of Journalism and Communication’s relationship with Dan Wieden will continue," Gleason writes. "He is an honored alumnus who shares our commitment to ethical principles and to the welfare of students. He has given unselfishly of his time for the past 12 years to run a student workshop that has proved invaluable. It has led to tremendous learning and career opportunities for many of the school’s graduates. This year, as in the past, student feedback on the workshop was very positive. In the future, the school will work with Dan more carefully to ensure that all assignments in the workshop are consistent with the school’s policies and vision." Wieden, contacted via an agency spokesperson, had no comment.

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