Dan Wieden
Dan Wieden
President, CEO & CCO at Wieden + Kennedy
Portland, United States
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Agency
Campaign W+K Nike case
Advertiser Nike
Brand Nike
Tagline Play
Philosophy In 1971 an icon was born: a design student, Carolyn Davidson, inspired by the blurred image of a jogger, created a check-mark-shaped logo she called a ‘swoosh’. She then sold her design to Nike founder Phil Knight for the not-so-pricey sum of $35.

Then in 1980, a young creative team, Dan Wieden and Dave Kennedy, began to shape an image around that little check mark. They created a line ‘Just Do It’, and from that, a voice. A voice that spoke simply and honestly. That voice became the voice of Nike and, before long, the voice of athletes everywhere.

For over twenty years, Wieden + Kennedy has committed its creative energies to injecting that little ‘check mark’ with meaning. To speaking in the voice of the athlete. And to creating a brand like no other. Marketing wisdom tells us that to create a brand you must give it a singular persona. A simple message. Once you’ve done that, you merely throw the media dollars at it, pounding it into the heads of your consumers until they can repeat it like so many lobotomised lemmings.

But athletes are not lemmings. They are as complicated as any other group of human beings. So Nike had to become a new kind of brand. One that was capable of speaking to athletes about all their different likes, dislikes, cares and concerns. Over the years, the Nike voice has run the gamut of tone and emotion. But always in the end, it has been real, it has been honest and it has been personal. A dialogue. One athlete speaking to another. Through this multi-note voice, Nike has been able to connect with its customer base in a way no business has ever done before.

This has allowed the brand to build relationships with athletes that are incredibly strong and diverse. And it has positioned the brand for the future, come what may. Wherever there are athletes doing their thing, a word or an image signed off with the Nike swoosh will be both welcome and recognisable.
Result The success of Nike can be attributed to many factors. But perhaps the single greatest reason for Nike’s success has to do with a brand and a voice that have connected with consumers around the globe. Nike has grown its business from $3.5 million to $9 billion, and that little swoosh is now the third most recognised brand icon in the world. We’re proud of the role Wieden + Kennedy has played in that success.
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