The real reason behind Nike’s popular catchphrase ‘Just Do It’ has been revealed by the advertising executive behind it, and it’s not what you’d imagine.
So, the reason? It was the last words of armed-robber and murderer Gary Gilmore from Texas, moments before a firing squad executed him.
Speaking about the origin of it, co-founder of advertising agency Wieden and Kennedy, Dan Wieden said:
I was recalling a man in Portland in the 70s. He grew up in Portland, and ran around doing criminal acts in the country, and was in Utah where he murdered a man and woman, and was sent to jail and put before a firing squad.Advertisement
They asked him if he had any final thought and he said: ‘Let’s do it’. I didn’t like ‘Let’s do it’ so I just changed it to ‘Just do it’.
At first, the suggestion for the slogan was turned down by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, but Wieden urged them to trust him, and trust him they did. The slogan became massive, very quickly.
Campaign magazine spoke about the slogan, saying:
It is arguably the best tagline of the 20th century. It cut across age and class barriers, linked Nike with success – and made consumers believe they could be successful too just by wearing its products.