Top Slogan Turns Twenty-five!
The top slogan turns twenty-five!
Ranked as the second most powerful advertising slogan of the twentieth century by the leading advertising magazine in the world, The Advertising Age, Nike Shoe Company’s JUST DO IT slogan is turning twenty-five this year.
One of the core components of Nike’s brand, JUST DO IT is a highly recognized trademark of the shoe company Nike. JUST DO IT slogan was coined in 1988 at an ad agency (Wieden+Kennedy) meeting. Dan Wieden, the cofounder of the agency credits the inspiration for his JUST DO IT Nike Slogan to Gary Gilmore’s last words, just before his execution. Gary Gilmore, the notorious spree-killer, uttered the words ‘Let’s do it’, just before the firing squad executed him in Utah in 1977. Eleven years later, the phrase became the inspiration for Nike’s JUST DO IT campaign. Nike tweaked these last words and made it JUST DO IT.
Wieden said that he liked the Do part of the slogan and JUST DO IT might make a good slogan for athletic gear. It became one of the most successful slogans of the century and people started reading things into it much more than sport. The slogan propelled Nike to improve its domestic sport-shoe business from 18 to 43 per cent during the decade starting from 1988 to 1998.
The original JUST DO IT campaign was aimed at Nike’s traditional target, 18 to 40 year old males, as well as younger teens and females. The campaign reached consumers on a humorous level and tapped into the fitness craze, which began at the time. The ads worked to shame people into exercising, and when exercising to wear Nike’s.
The strategy aimed at creating a belief that Nike was a pre-requisite to attain physical fitness. When you think of it, JUST DO IT acts as a very powerful and influential element in positive self-talk and affirmation. The super athletes and super sports-persons of world repute endorsed the Nike brand in the JUST DO IT commercials. The print ads contained some of the most inspiring copy in the advertising history. The campaign became so successful that by owning Nikes you were instantly a member of very desirable group. The ads struck a strong emotional chord in all the aspiring athletes-at-heart in addition to people who have a strong bent of mind to become athletics.
Neville Symington, a prominent British psychoanalyst in his work on therapeutic change in psychoanalysis suggests that a shift from the old routine to a new way of being requires an act of freedom, which means having a mind of one’s own, acting in faith in oneself and one’s good objects, and taking a chance. We must cut the ties to the old way to try something new. Nike’s slogan, JUST DO IT, represents this act of freedom. Jennifer Kunst, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst writes that psychological progress occurs in the face of anxiety and conflict. If we wait for the anxiety and conflict to subside first, we will never do anything. While thinking before acting is necessary and helpful, at some point, you have to JUST DO IT.
The tagline or the ad slogan of Nike, JUST DO IT is twenty-five years old and going strong. Although the tagline is fundamentally simple, it is distinct in its meaning. JUST DO IT means don’t think, don’t ask, don’t talk about it, don’t regret it, JUST DO IT. It appeals to the desire to be free, independent, overcoming all obstacles and social and physical inhibitions and limitations, both to the athlete and athlete at heart!
Click here to watch the first JUST DO IT television commercial.