Wieden’s Authentic Non-Fiction

Fast Company writer Bill Breen interviewed Dan Wieden recently for a feature in the magazine. As always, Dan has some interesting things to say.

FC: So in world that’s saturated with marketing messages, how does a brand demonstrate that it is, in fact, authentic?
Wieden: Authenticity comes from having a real passion for the thing. When we first started working with Nike, we didn’t bother with focus groups and planning. We were just a group of people who were absolutely turned on by sports and athletes, and what Phil Knight was creating, and we just wanted to turn other people on. We weren’t trying to manipulate anyone. We were trying to share something that we loved. It was that simple.
FC: Why, then, does The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, with its fake newscasts, come across as authentic?
Wieden: Fiction is often more authentic than fact, because fact rarely reveals anything of import, whereas fiction is fully capable of showing us fundamental human truths. Jon Stewart delivers a fake newscast, but he is authentic. His humor strips away all the phoniness of politics and the pomposity of the network news.

“We were just trying to share something that we loved.” Imagaine if we all had the luxury of doing the same. The ad world would be a different place.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.