David Kennedy, an advertising legend and the co-founder of one of the most famous agencies in the world, Wieden+Kennedy has passed away at 82.
Kennedy. had an incredible creative career, but perhaps, he is best known for coming up with Nike’s infamous slogan, “Just Do It!” Of course, that wasn’t Kennedy’s only genius creative moment, arguably he had many.
Famously he was behind a Honda commercial in the mid-1980s that used shaky-camera footage, something that is now used regularly in ads.
Over his career, he was the recipient of multiple Cannes Lions awards. Kennedy was considered a legend in his industry, not just because of Wieden+Kennedy that he co-founded with Dan Wieden, but because of his contribution to the creative industry.
Kennedy never quite retired and never stopped creating and continued to work on campaigns, up until his death. His final advertisement was a pro bono project for the American Indian College Fund, and ran in The New York Times, earlier this week!
To give you insight into who Kennedy was, he was a believer in always trying. According to Forbes, Kennedy was a fan of the phrase, “Fail Harder” and it was featured in his office.
In the 2009 documentary, Art and Copy, Forbes reported, he said: “It’s like Babe Ruth trying to hit a home run: I mean it’s like if you miss, you miss, but at least you swung the bat as hard as you could.”
This makes sense when you consider the humbling beginnings of Wieden+Kennedy, clearly, Kennedy was always willing to try, no matter the odds. Famously, the agency was founded in 1982 in a basement room without a phone, all calls had to be made through a nearby payphone.
The first client they managed to secure was just a relatively unknown footwear brand, called Nike. Now, both Wieden+Kennedy and Nike are global companies, that are known around the world.
David Kennedy, May 31, 1939 – October 10, 2021. Your legacy and spirit will live on forever in our hearts and our work. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/K7DuBftUkX
— Wieden+Kennedy (@WiedenKennedy) October 12, 2021
Wieden+Kennedy paid tribute to their co-founder via social media.
On Twitter, the agency wrote, “David Kennedy, May 31, 1939 – October 10, 2021. Your legacy and spirit will live on forever in our hearts and our work.”
Clearly, he was a creative force that will be missed.
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