Nike’s iconic ‘Just Do It’ came from the last words of a notorious killer

by Aadarsh Jain

Nike’s iconic ‘Just Do It’ came from the last words of a notorious killer

April 12, 2021

Since its creation in 1988, Nike's slogan "Just Do It" has become recognisable. It has since become one of the most identifiable and common phrases in the world, and it has helped Nike in increasing product and product sales. But did you know "Just Do It" were the words of a criminal "Gary Gilmore" who was on a death row.

Who Was Gary Gilmore

Gary Gilmore, the infamous serial killer, robbed a gas station in 1976 and killed the attendant and a motel worker. He shot himself in the hand and requested medical help from his cousin, but she turned him over to the cops.
After that, he was sentenced to death and imprisoned in Utah. He asked for his last words before he died, and they were “Lets do it.”

1976, convicted murderer Gary Mark Gilmore arrives heavily guarded to 4th District Court in Provo, Utah. Gilmore was executed by firing squad Jan. 17, 1977. The Republican-controlled Utah Legislature on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 gave final approval to a proposal to bring back firing squad executions if the state cannot track down drugs used in lethal injections.

Nike's Slogan Was Born From These Words

After ten years, Dan Wieden, an advertising executive and co-founder of Wieden and Kennedy, made a pitch to Nike in 1988. Nike was not a well-known company at the time, with competitors such as Reebok beating them at every turn. Wieden pitched Nike with the Utah killer slogan “Let’s do it,” which he simplified to “Just do it,” with the hope of uniting athletes worldwide. Most of Nike’s employees disliked it, and even Phil Knight, the company’s co-founder, opposed it before using it in a commercial featuring Walt Stack, an 80-year-old athlete.

Nike's Success after "Just Do It"

The slogan became Nike’s iconic slogan after that commercial, and it helped Nike break into the billion-dollar foreign sports market. Following that, a number of campaigns based on these terms were also launched. Nike has made its logo the focal point of everything they do, including supporting celebrity athletes and taking part in social causes.
Even though the tale of those three words will still have a more dark history than most people know, it has become a part of Nike’s branding.


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