Dan Wieden Tells Ad Student to Get Naked

Ad Guru Dan Wieden

Apparently to maintain the advertising "hip-cool" thing and make things interesting, Wieden + Kennedy President Dan Wieden asks college students in an advertising workshop he teaches at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication to do challenging and off beat things to build confidence. This year, he's asked one student to strip down and go streaking, asked another straight student to convince his parents he's gay and asked yet another to create a commotion in a mall just to attract a crowd.

So let's get this straight. He's asked a student to break the law. Another, to lie. And another to make a fool of himself. Gee, sounds a lot like advertising. And it's all under the guise of building character, overcoming fears and preparing for the challenges one might face in business.

Predictabley, college administrators have been taken by Wieden's guru status and gush profusely about the benefits of this questionable means of education. "I think there's an ongoing process here," said UO SOJC Dean Tim Gleason. "I think Dan has presented them with a rather interesting challenge."

Perhaps it would be worth considering preparing students in a way that would help alter the world's perception of the ad industry - currently equal to that of car dealers and dial-a-lawyers.

UPDATE: Gleason eats crow: "It is clear that some students found themselves in a position that resulted in behaviors that are inconsistent with the mission, ethics, values and vision of the School of Journalism and Communication and the University of Oregon. For that, I express my deepest regret and accept full responsibility."

Dan, care to comment?

by Steve Hall    Jun- 9-04   Click to Comment   

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