David Kennedy, ad industry icon, dies at 82


PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 16: (L-R) David Kennedy (far left), George Lois, Dan Wieden and Rich Silverstein of the film “Art & Copy” pose for a portrait at the Film Lounge Media Center during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival on January 16, 2009 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — David Kennedy, the co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy, died at age 82 Sunday.

Kennedy launched the independent ad agency with Dan Wieden on April Fool’s Day 1982 in Portland.

The famed agency was responsible for iconic campaigns, including Nike’s “Just Do It” commercials and a trailblazing documentary-style ad from Honda. Its shaky-camera technique was widely imitated thereafter in the industry.

Kennedy was born May 31, 1939 in Kansas to a family of wildcat drillers. He grew up close to oil fields east of the Rockies and pursued art later in life.

His studies took him from the Art Institute of Chicago to the Pacific Northwest College of Art to the Oregon College of Arts and Crafts and the United States Marine Corps.

“David Kennedy’s heart and soul and neural pathways are etched deep inside Wieden+Kennedy,” Wieden said. “It’s who we are, it’s what we do, and it’s why we do it.”

Kennedy is survived by his wife of 58 years, Kathleen, and  children Cathlin, Brendan, Erinn and Siobhan, and predeceased by his son Ian.

W+K has also been temporarily renamed to Kennedy+Wieden in his honor, a company spokesperson said.

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