Though you might not have heard of the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, you’ve undoubtedly seen, and probably remember some of its work.
W+K is the agency behind award-winning work like Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” and every notable Nike campaign you’ve ever seen (“Just Do It,” “Bo Knows,” “It’s Gotta Be The Shoes” — the whole shebang). It also handles work for some of the corporate world’s cooler clients, such as Facebook, Heineken, and ESPN.
Though Wieden now has eight offices around the world, its flagship remains in Portland, where the agency grew out of its close relationship with Nike, headquartered in nearby Washington County. That’s another achievement of its own: Wieden attracts the world’s most creative people to Portland, not New York, where the vast bulk of ad agencies have their main staff.
I had a chance to visit the office on a recent trip out to Portland, and it’s something of a design marvel. Inside, I found one of the most impressive Christmas displays I’ve ever seen, a uniquely rustic meeting place, and the work spaces of some of the most creative people in the business.
W+K is located in the downtown area of Northwest Portland -- west of the mighty Columbia River and north of Burnside Street, which runs east to west and cuts the city in two.
Here's the incredible holiday display you see when you first walk in, created by W+K's studio team in partnership with members of the Portland design community.
The building's foyer features a monthly rotating art exhibit, open to the public on the first Thursday of each month.
The lobby also features black-and-white photos of W+K's staff, a testament to the agency's belief that it is defined by its people, not its awards.
Perhaps the most famous feature of the W+K office is The Nest, a sculpture and meeting place located on the fourth flour.
You might recognise the Nest's cozy, outdoorsy interior as the site of a 'Portlandia' sketch shot on the premises.
If at this point you're wondering what the ~600 W+K employees do between meetings, yes, there are desks in this office, and yes, the employees do actually work.
Given the creative nature of W+K's employees, it's no surprise that the desks themselves are well-decorated and designed.
The office is also decorated with artwork by W+K employees, like this pushpin mural highlighting co-founder Dan Wieden's belief that creative success only comes to those willing to risk failure.
There's also this totem pole, which was given as a gift to co-founder David Kennedy by longtime client The American Indian College Fund.
Other perks include a kitchen, a gym (with classes!), and this outdoor deck. Sadly, it was closed the snowy day I visited.
But for all the luxury at its swanky office, W+K reminds its workers that it values two things above all else: Great stories...
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