The "Just Do It" campaign was launched by Nike in 1988.
The idea came from a surprising source: Gary Gilmore was a criminal who was executed in 1977 in Utah, and his final words were "Let's do it."
Dan Wieden, co-founder of the advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, was inspired by these words and adapted them into the slogan "Just Do It" for Nike's ad campaign.
Why Nike Did It?
In the mid-1980s, Nike was facing stiff competition from Reebok in the broader sports footwear market.
The "Just Do It" campaign was part of Nike's effort to reposition itself as a brand for all athletes and fitness enthusiasts, not just runners.
The goal was to inspire people to overcome procrastination and inertia and to engage in physical activity, with Nike's products positioned as the ideal tools for this.
One of the key elements of the "Just Do It" campaign was its simplicity. The phrase was short, memorable, and applicable to a wide range of sports and activities.
The campaign was designed to inspire and motivate, tapping into the emotional benefits of sports and fitness.
At the time, most sports marketing was focused on star athletes and male consumers. Nike, however, used the "Just Do It" campaign to target everyone, regardless of their age, fitness level, or gender.
The campaign featured various advertisements that told compelling stories. The first "Just Do It" ad, for instance, featured 80-year-old runner Walt Stack jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Results of the Campaign
Nike's share of the North American domestic sport-shoe business reportedly jumped from 18% to 43%, and worldwide sales went from $877 million in 1988 to $9.2 billion in 1998.
The campaign resonated with consumers and became a significant part of pop culture. The slogan is still in use today, demonstrating its lasting impact.