Just Do It – Nike’s Slogan Explained!

Are you looking for the meaning of Nike’s Slogan: Just Do It? If yes, this article is going to explain it to you in detail.

As an entrepreneur, I’m very interested in learning about the slogans of some successful companies like Nike. Because it inspires me to use the same kind of marketing tactic in my own business.

So in the past week, I have studied a lot of materials about Nike’s Slogan: Just Do It. I’m going to share with you my findings about the slogan. You may find it very inspirational if you are a business student or business owner.

In this article about “Just Do It”, I’m going to cover the following topics:

What Does “Just Do It” Mean?

Just Do It is a slogan or trademark of shoe company Nike, and it is a key feature of the brand. This slogan was coined in 1988 at a meeting of advertising agencies. 

Every big brand, like Nike, has a slogan. Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan comes from the last words of a murderer.

Nike was able to increase its share of North American sport-shoe sales from 18% to 43% through its “Just Do It” campaign (from $877 million to $9.2 billion in worldwide sales from 1988 to 1998). 

According to many publications and journalists, the slogan is the best slogan of the 20th century, connecting the current situation with people and empowering them to believe that they too can be successful by wearing Nike products. 

It was important that the tagline be short, simple, and memorable.

The slogan generated so many comments and has been used in so many memes in the last years. 

We can find a lot of just do it memes on the internet, mostly with humorous and/or sarcastic meanings. 

The most famous is probably the Shia Labeouf just do it meme, specifically the video of Shia Labeouf screaming “Just Do It”.

For some reason that line resonated deeply in the athletic community and just as deeply with people who had little or no connection to sports.” 

Some adopted it as a way of life. Nike capitalized on this in some of its advertising, particularly in posters aimed at women that linked sports commitments with empowerment. The message was reiterated in a 1995 TV commercial. 

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How Was the “Just Do It” Slogan Created?

The famous advertising slogan was created by Dan Wieden, co-founder of Wieden+Kennedy. According to Dan Wieden, the slogan for his Nike campaign “Just Do It” was inspired by Gary Gilmore’s last words: “Let’s do it.” 

If you’re as shocked as we were, you’re not alone. An interview with Dan Wieden at Design Indaba 2015 in Cape Town explained the story behind the slogan.

In 1988, Wieden was having difficulty coming up with a line that would go viral. After thinking about it all night, Wieden got really worried about pitching the final line. He stayed up the whole night to think about it. 

While coming up with the new Nike slogan, Wieden recalled a man from Portland. The man grew up in Portland, where he committed crimes and then killed a man and a woman. They asked the criminal if he had any final thoughts as he stood in front of the firing squad. “Let’s do it,” he replied.

Having written down five final lines, he narrowed it down to just one that he felt most strongly about and that was “Just Do It”.

He changed Let’s Do It to Just Do It because Wiener didn’t like Let’s Do It. Gary Gilmore, the offender previously mentioned, was born and raised in Portland, where Nike and Wieden+Kennedy are based. 

Nike co-founder Phil Knight was sceptical of the slogan and told Wieden, “We don’t need that nonsense”. Weiden believed in the slogan and convinced him to trust him, and the campaign went big really quickly.

“Just Do It” appears alongside the Nike logo, called the Swoosh, in many Nike-related contexts.

The slogan and swoosh logo of Nike helped the brand to overtake Reebok and become the global giant we all know today.

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How Do the “Just Do It” Campaigns Work?

The Nike tagline continues to be used in much of the brand’s advertising and marketing. 

“‘Just Do It’ is still as relevant to us as a brand today as it was 23 years ago,” says Davide Grasso, VP of global brand marketing at Nike. 

“It has been translated into many, many languages,” he continues. “One of my favourite examples is this one: The American Foundation for the Blind gave Nike the 1995 Access Award for its creation and distribution of a ‘Just Do It’ poster done in braille.”

Nike itself sees the slogan as more of a brand identity than a slogan. “We actually don’t believe in slogans,” says Grasso. “Instead, what we’ve found to be most effective is inviting people to join us in what we believe in and what we stand for. And what we stand for is to serve and honour athletes.

The “Just Do It” campaign launched in 1988 was highly successful, with the company defining the meaning of “Just Do It” as being both “universal and intensely personal.” 

As Reebok focused their campaign on aerobics during the fitness craze of the 1980s, Nike responded with “a tough, take no prisoners ad campaign.” 

The campaign targeted all Americans, regardless of age, gender or physical fitness level. Nike’s strategy was to present sneakers to consumers as fashion statements, which led to Nike apparel becoming more than just fitness gear. 

In addition to merchandise, outdoor billboards, print media, and graffiti art, “Just Do It” was promoted through a variety of media outlets.

In order to attract customers and promote Nike as a reliable company for both everyday people and professional athletes, Nike enlisted a variety of people from different ethnicities and races along with numerous notable athletes. 

Some of the world’s most famous athletes were used in their advertisements, including footballers Bo Jackson, Ronaldinho, and Wayne Rooney; basketballers Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Using professional athletes and slogans emphasizing sportsmanship and health, Nike’s campaign embodied Nike’s image as an innovative American icon associated with success. Customers began to associate their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness.

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Why Is the Business Slogan Important For Nike?

A slogan is a short, catchy phrase used in advertising very frequently. Creating a catchy slogan for a brand or product is an effective way of drawing attention to them. 

In marketing, slogans have been used for many years, but today they are everywhere, used by many different types of brands. 

A good slogan should highlight the benefits of a product. The slogan should be memorable and highlight the brand’s image. 

Generally, a phrase that has meaning strikes a chord with customers more than a brand’s name alone, because a good slogan does more than give the customer a commitment, but also explains to them what the brand represents.

The following reasons explain why slogans are so important in marketing:

Positioning and recognition of brands

Brand identity is defined by a unique logo, a memorable slogan, and the brand name. 

It would therefore help in creating brand recognition in the market if your slogan is catchy and memorable. Depending on the language and tone of the slogan, your brand will be positioned within the market.

Developing better customer relationships

Throughout history, slogans have consistently been treasured as a connection between a business and its related customers. 

The use of advertising slogans for brands helps the audience remember the brand, which, in turn, leads to them developing a positive attitude towards it.

Be a standout

It is important for your brand to have a distinctive slogan. Your brand gets a unique identity which stays in the minds of people. 

You can identify your brand by the slogan without having to mention the product or brand name. 

Increase your product’s demand

In addition to telling the audience about the product, a slogan can also tell them about its benefits. 

A slogan is the way people perceive a product. Therefore, using a slogan as a marketing strategy can make your product more desirable.

Final Words: Nike Slogan

By constructing a powerful marketing slogan, it gives a clear picture of what your business is all about, and it becomes a critical part of your company.

In today’s society, the slogan ‘Just Do It’ is viewed either as an inspiring mantra or as a bullying command. 

In addition to the Nike swoosh, it appears on bags, T-shirts and billboards all over the world. 

The slogan sums up the sports brand: it is competitive, forceful, direct, as powerful and lean as the athletes that appear alongside it in Nike ads.

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Just Do It - Nike's Slogan Explained!

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