04 May 2023

By Gaby Soria

Middleweight Designer

"Just Do It" was trademarked by Nike, and quickly became one of the core components of their brand. The slogan was born at an advertising agency meeting back in 1988. The founder of Wieden+Kennedy agency, Dan Wieden, credits the inspiration for his "Just Do It" Nike slogan to the convicted murderer, Gary Gilmore’s last words. The "Just Do It" campaign helped Nike grow in the shoe industry in North America, and sales grew from $877 million to $9.2 billion dollars in the span of just 10 years.

The Nike “Just Do It” is one of the most iconic examples of a successful marketing campaign that has transcended time, and resonated with customers through the years. This campaign has been at the heart of Nike's philosophy, and has inspired athletes and non-athletes to push and pursue their goals to reach the top. The campaign has featured a range of athletes over the years, from professionals to amateurs, and focused on the hard work, dedication, and perseverance required to achieve success.

Why has it been so successful?

Nike has enlisted a range of people from diverse ethnicities, races and genders, as well as numerous notable athletes in order to attract customers and promote the image of Nike as being reliable to not only everyday customers, but professional athletes. There have been many stars that have advertised Nike through a range of sports including the NBA, football and tennis. Nike is also not afraid to stand out from the crowd and support controversial causes which at the time, many other sponsors would walk away from. In 2016, they chose to feature Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback who kneeled for the pre-game national anthem in protest at racial injustice in the United States. Their "Dream Crazy" campaign is below - make sure you give it a watch, as it's motivating and eye-opening in equal parts!

The 'Just Do It" campaign has embodied Nike's image as an innovative American icon associated with success, through the combination of professional athletes and motivational slogans emphasising sportsmanship and health. This led to customers associating their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness.

Why is it still successful after 30 years?

The “Just Do It” campaign has lasted for over 30 years, demonstrating its ability to remain relevant to consumers and athletes. The campaign has evolved over the years, with new taglines and creative executions, but the core message of inspiring people to take action and pursue their goals has remained constant. Check out the first ever "Just Do It" commercial from 1988 below!

The success of the “Just Do It” campaign offers several valuable lessons for marketers. First, the power of a simple and compelling message should not be underestimated. The “Just Do It” tagline has endured for over three decades because it speaks to a fundamental human desire to achieve success and overcome obstacles.

Nike uses tweets, images and other posts to push itself as a healthy lifestyle motivator, rather than just trying to hard-sell its products.

How can we apply the message to our lives?

Whether you are a professional athlete, or just someone passionate about exercising, the message is inspiring, and speaks to the universal truth of pushing yourself beyond your limits. It promotes a no-nonsense attitude while remaining positive and inspirational.

Not only does it improve yourself physically, but by pushing yourself in either your work, team or individual sports, it will give you a great sense of accomplishment, thus improving your mental health.