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What Was the Inspiration for Nike’s "Just Do It" Slogan?

Nike has become one of the world's biggest athletic brands since its "Just Do It" slogan was introduced in 1988, but it turns out that there is a dark side to the famous phrase. Advertising executive Dan Wieden says that he got the idea from the last words of condemned murderer Gary Gilmore. Just before he was executed in Utah in 1977, Gilmore said, "Let's do it." Wieden recalled those words as a sort of challenge to something that couldn't be overcome. Wieden rephrased Gilmore's words to "Just do it" and used the line to tie together five somewhat disparate ad spots that his agency had created for Nike. The slogan first appeared at the end of an ad featuring an 80-year-old runner, and it has been going strong ever since.

Now hear this:

  • Every year, American pharmaceutical companies spend billions more on advertising than they do on researching and developing new drugs.

  • Since the Marlboro Man first appeared in tobacco ads in the 1950s, at least four of the actors who played him have died of smoking-related diseases.

  • In 1967, a 30-second TV ad during Super Bowl I cost $37,500 USD; the same ad during Super Bowl LII in 2018 would have cost more than $5 million USD.

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More Info: The New York Times

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