Nike's 'Just Do It' slogan inspired by convicted killer

Nike's 'Just Do It' Slogan Inspired By Convicted Killer
Nike's 'Just Do It' Slogan Inspired By Convicted Killer

One of the world's most iconic marketing slogans was inspired by a murderer.

Nike first unveiled the "Just Do It" tagline at the end of a television commercial in 1988.

Since then it's become one of the most recognizable campaigns.

Dan Wieden, the ad-executive who came up with the slogan, told Dezeen Magazine he got the idea from Gary Gilmore - a murderer from Portland, Oregon where Nike's headquarters is located today.

Gilmore was sentenced to death by firing squad after murdering two men in Utah in 1976. Just before his execution in 1977, he uttered the words "Let's do it."

Wieden says the night before a big meeting, he tried to come up with a simple tag-line that could also reach across multiple platforms. He made a simple change to Gilmore's last words and "Just Do It" was born.

After explaining Gilmore's story he said, "For some reason I went: 'Now damn. How do you do that? How do you ask for an ultimate challenge that you are probably going to lose, but you call it in?' ...

I showed it to some of the folks in the agency before we went to present to Nike and they said 'We don't need that s--t'. I went to Nike and [Nike co-founder] Phil Knight said, 'We don't need that s--t'. I said 'Just trust me on this one.'"

Wieden said in a 2009 documentary called Art & Copy that when the slogan hit the public, death was the last thing on people's minds.

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