W+K unveils its first American Indian College Fund campaign since David Kennedy’s passing

Erica Tremblay directed the new spot, featuring a Native graduate ready to embrace her future

Published On
Oct 11, 2023
A Native women looking in the mirror at her earrings

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Wieden+Kennedy founder David Kennedy died two years ago this week. But his legacy as a champion of the American Indian College Fund lives on—as the agency has unveiled its first campaign in the client and agency’s 35 years together that Kennedy wasn’t involved in.

A 45-second spot called “Move Aside,” timed to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, focuses on the potential of tribal college students. It was crafted by Patty Orlando, creative director at W+K, along with creative team members Robin Maxkii and Brad Trost, and directed by Erica Tremblay (known for her film “Fancy Dance”) of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation.

It stars Elva Guerra of “Reservation Dogs” as a Native graduate who’s ready to make her mark in the world. The creative concept is about bringing a cover letter to life—with some unexpected highlights on her résumé.


Every detail of the campaign was rooted in Native culture, with Tremblay given the freedom to bring her own authenticity to the production.

“The campaign line is ‘Move Aside’ and that is what we tried to do. Rather than working in our usual way, we engaged an up-and-coming director from ‘Reservation Dogs,’ Erica Tremblay,” Orlando said. “From there, things just fell into place as she brought in Indigenous crew partners and actress Elva Guerra from Oklahoma. The shoot took on a life of its own, with Erica calling out crew calls in her native Iroquoian language. I think you can feel all these decisions and intentions in the finished work.”

The campaign is design to promote tribal education awareness and the potential of its graduates, and will also be used by tribal colleges and universities to promote their institutions to their surrounding communities. The work also includes social media, online banners and out-of-home placements in Times Square and on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, to show employers the promising prospects graduating from tribal colleges.

Maxkii is a former tribal college student herself.

“I remember applying for a College Fund scholarship after seeing a campaign poster in the hallway at school—and now, I get to work on those very campaigns,” she said. “I don’t think I have fought harder for any creative the way that I fight for Indigenous work because I know the impact this work has had and will have. As an Indigenous kid, it meant so much to me to see myself reflected in something—so I strive to continue to do the same by continuing to create authentic and dynamic Indigenous representation into my own work today.”

The launch of this campaign coincides with the two-year anniversary of W+K co-founder and longtime College Fund friend and ally, David Kennedy’s passing. After nearly 35 years of partnership, the “Move Aside” campaign is the first work that Kennedy has not played an active role in since the start of the relationship. While on set, Orlando and producer Jeff Selis, marveled at how Kennedy would have loved this work and how his legacy lives on.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, hailed the campaign as a stellar continuation of W+K’s commitment to the cause.

“The arts and stories that are embodied in the ‘Move Aside’ campaign are so reflective of the joyful and inclusive way that Native people engage with education and opportunity,” she said. “Once again, the College Fund, with our great allies at W+K and our deep relationships with Native artists and actors demonstrates through film that we are here to offer our knowledge and talents for a better society.”


Oct 11, 2023
Client :
American Indian College Fund
Agency :
Wieden & Kennedy-Portland
Creative Director :
Patty Orlando
Creative Director :
David Kennedy
Art Director :
Brad Trost
Copywriter :
Robin Maxkii
Head of Production :
Orlee Tatarka
Executive Producer :
Jeff Selis
Creative Operations Manager :
Jane Monaghan
Senior Print Producer :
Denise Hanggi
Senior Designer :
Cathy Ormerod
Design Producer :
Victoria Tengblad-Kreft
Head of Motion + Retouching :
Frazer Goodbody
Motion Lead :
Adam Sirkin
Motion Lead :
Jeff Ackley
Motion Designer :
Daniel Finn
Motion Designer :
Wen Tsai
Digital Retoucher :
Saskia Thomson
Digital Retoucher :
Shay Platz
Digital Retoucher :
Frances Brown
Group Strategy Director :
Becca Taylor
Strategist :
Rachita Vasan
Associate Media Director :
Mary Eliason
Media Planner :
Casey Paxman
Brand Director :
Kayla Clay
Brand Manager :
Elizabeth Beymer
Brand Manager :
Patrick McLaughlin
Business Affairs Manager :
Aliyah Oyemade
Broadcast Traffic :
Eric Nguyen
Senior Copy Editor :
James Yu
Chief Marketing and Development Officer :
NancyJo Houk
Director of Marketing :
Karen Cheung
Production Company :
Alpen Pictures
Director :
Erica Tremblay
Executive Producer :
Christian Heuer
Line Producer :
William Orozco-Cubbon
Director of Photography :
Yuki Noguchi
Production Design/Art Direction :
Tafv Sampson
1st AD :
Billy Alarcon
Editorial Company :
Editor :
Ling Chua
Assistant Editor :
Ian Devore
Post Producer :
Izzie Raitt
Head of Production :
Catherine Liu
Executive Producer :
Annie Maldonado
Head of Operations :
Kathleen Russell
Head of Brand :
Orlee Tatarka
Post Production Accountant :
Sky McBean
VFX Company :
Colorist :
Jasmine Vazquez
Finish Artist :
Gavin Wright
Finish Assistant :
Micole Joyner-Cottle
VFX Producer :
Zai Outlaw
Head of Production :
Catherine Liu
Executive Producer :
Tina Starkweather
Music Company :
Artist/Writer :
Harold Paul
Sound Design / Mix :
Sound Design/ Mix :
Candace Mortier
Audio Recording Engineer :
Ido Avraham
Producer :
Louise Woodward

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