Tributes pour in for Waldo

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Veteran adman – perhaps the most admired one of his generation – David (Dave/Devo/Waldo) Walden died in Auckland on Saturday, aged 66 after a short (but vigorous) fight against an aggressive form of cancer.

He died peacefully in an Auckland hospice, in the company of his wife Annie and his two children Joanna and Michael (who both have worked in advertising “I made them watch commercials instead of cartoons,” he once said).

Walden entered the business in the Mad Men era, when he was a founder of The Campaign Palace and Saatchi & Saatchi NZ – but he hit his straps during his two decades as co-founder and ceo of Whybin\TBWA Auckland, where he created the legendary ASB Bank Goldstein campaign.

“Devo had soul. I, for one, will miss him terribly as I know all his other friends, colleagues and clients will, too.

He was a highly entertaining speaker – and probably the most widely admired adman in the business in NZ – and his exit is going to leave a lot of people hurting.

M+AD enjoyed a lunch with Walden at Soul just six weeks before he died. He was already in the grip of the disease, but was – as always – full of life and energy.

He’d lost weight, but his startlingly bright blue eyes had lost none of their sparkle; indeed he looked so well it seemed he might be winning against the odds.

“I’m throwing everything at it – conventional and unconventional,” he told his lunch companions.

Friend Bill Ralston told NBR: “A long luncher and splendid companion, he somehow managed to seamlessly combine both work and pleasure and extract the best results for both.

“David Walden was a very rare vintage.”

A funeral date is likely to be announced today or tomorrow – we’ll update this site as soon as we hear.

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