Slogan Week: Just Do It

Oh, the last day of Slogan Week. What did I choose? What could possibly be any better than “Where’s the beef?”

If you read the title, it’s quite obvious.

Nike has done wonders with simplicity. Their logo is a check mark. The Swoosh was first used by Nike in June 1971, and was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 22, 1974. At the time, Nike was known as Blue Ribbon Sports.

Nike is the name of the Greek goddess of victory. Originally, it was used as the name of the shoe line. In 1978, Blue Ribbon Sports switched its name to Nike.

Ready for the slogan? Gary Gilmore, the notorious spree-killer, uttered the words “Let’s do it” just before a firing squad executed him in Utah in 1977. Years later, the phrase became the inspiration for Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign.

Dan Wieden, who first realized that a slight tweaking of Mr. Gilmore’s last words might make a good slogan for athletic gear, said the resonance of “Just Do It” was completely inadvertent and unforeseen.

The slogan was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th century, and the campaign has been enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. How’s that for a successful slogan?

Why does it work?

Admittedly, “Just Do It” does not describe the product. It’s a classed-up version of “Get’r done”.

It’s success is in its simplicity. “Do it” is too short. “Just do it” is perfect. From a sports perspective, it seems something a trainer would say to an athlete, or something a coach would say to his team when their down by ten with three minutes on the clock.

For more information on “Just Do It” and the birth of other slogans, check out this article.

What does it take to write a great slogan? Some creativity, some words, and a whole lot of luck.


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Posted on November 5, 2010, in Biz Tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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