- Happy Accidents
- Happy Accidents #019 - Nike Slogan
Happy Accidents #019 - Nike Slogan
Just do it!
In a previous Happy Accidents newsletter, we saw how the M&M slogan came to be. This week, we’re going to talk about one of the most iconic slogans in advertising history: Nike's "Just Do It."
SETTING THE STAGE
In 1988, Dan Wieden, co-founder of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, was tasked with creating a new campaign for Nike.
The company was struggling to keep up with its main competitor, Reebok, and needed a new message to stand out in the crowded athletic apparel market.
Wieden and his team came up with a list of potential slogans, but none of them really hit the mark.
They were all too long or too cheesy.
THE HAPPY ACCIDENT
As the story goes, Wieden was sitting in a meeting with Nike executives when he thought back to the last words of Gary Gilmore, a convicted murderer who had been executed by firing squad in Utah in 1977.
Gilmore's last words were reportedly "Let's do it."
This sparked an idea.
Wieden thought about it and came up with "Just Do It"
He recognized the slogan sounded catchier and more memorable, so he took a chance.
Turns out he was right, because it it soon caught on.
The first "Just Do It" ad featured 80-year-old runner Walt Stack, and it aired during the 1988 Olympics.
The campaign was an instant success, and Nike's sales skyrocketed.
Today, "Just Do It" is one of the most recognized slogans in the world.
Some fun facts:
The first "Just Do It" ad actually said "Just Do It" twice in a row, as in "Just Do It, Just Do It."
The slogan was nearly scrapped before it even launched. Nike executives were initially hesitant about the dark connotations of Gilmore's last words. I can relate. I, myself, had some reservations about sharing this story in the newsletter!
The "Just Do It" campaign featured a wide range of athletes, from Michael Jordan to Bo Jackson to Serena Williams. The idea was to show that anyone could "Just do it" with the help of Nike products.
The lessons here:
Inspiration can come from unexpected places: Wieden wasn't looking for inspiration in Gilmore's last words, but that's where he found it. Keep an open mind and be willing to think outside the box.
Concise for the win: A good slogan is short, catchy, and memorable. "Just Do It" is just three words, but it packs a punch. When creating a slogan for your business, aim for brevity and impact.
Take calculated risks: Nike's executives were initially hesitant about the "Just Do It" slogan, but Wieden believed in it and pushed for its use. Sometimes, taking a calculated risk can pay off big time.
YOUR HAPPY ACCIDENTS
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