BBDO’s Knipe Dies at 38

NEW YORK Andy Knipe, a creative director at BBDO since 1992, has died after a five-year battle with ALS, the agency confirmed. He was 38.

ALS is a degenerative neurological affliction that is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York, Knipe joined the agency after receiving his masters degree in fine arts as well as the Richard Martell Scholarship, which included a paid internship at BBDO. By 1999, he was promoted to associate creative director at the Omnicom Group agency’s New York office. His most recent position was svp, creative director, and he worked on accounts such as Pepsi, FedEx, HBO and the New Jersey Devils hockey team. His numerous awards for his work include Cannes Lions, Effies and Andys.

In a memo to the agency, BBDO COO Jeff Mordos wrote of Knipe’s outstanding humor, his love of the New York Yankees, and his creative contributions to the shop for which he was given the founder’s award last year.

“His final years were spent fighting a courageous battle against ALS,” Mordos wrote. “Throughout it all, he made it easy on all of us. As he constantly pushed himself to do as much as his failing body would allow, he always stayed upbeat and couldn’t stop making us laugh. His e-mails became legendary.”

Mordos quoted from one of those e-mails written by Knipe on Aug. 11, his 38th and final birthday. Knipe wrote to Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, with whom he had become friends over the years.

“Curt, today, your number matches my new age. I made it,” Knipe wrote. “I immediately thought of you when I woke up and remembered your digits. I can’t bring myself to don your jersey today … because they only would see the name on the front (I’m in a wheelchair, remember?) … instead of the name and number on the back. And for that, I’d be crucified. But I still love you no matter what Curt. Keep throwing fastballs, I’ll stick to breaking balls. Love, Andy.”

Knipe is survived by his wife, Laura; three children, Jessica, 18, Joseph, 5, and Leo, 18 months; as well as two brothers and two sisters.

During his illness, Knipe became an activist on behalf of the ALS Association and appeared on Good Morning America.

Funeral services conclude today at Towers Funeral Home in Oceanside, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made to the ALS Association, Greater New York Chapter and to rideforlife.com.