Just Do It

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Just Do It.

Just Do It (stylized as JUST DO IT.)[1] is a trademark of shoe company Nike, and one of the core components of Nike's brand. The slogan was coined in 1988 at an advertising agency meeting. The founder of Wieden+Kennedy agency, Dan Wieden credits the inspiration for his "Just Do It" Nike slogan to Gary Gilmore’s last words: "Let's do it."[2] The "Just Do It" campaign allowed Nike to further increase its share of the North American domestic sport-shoe business from 18% to 43%, (from $877 million to $9.2 billion in worldwide sales) from 1988 to 1998.[3] In many Nike-related situations, "Just Do It" appears alongside the Nike logo, known as the Swoosh.


The "Just Do It" campaign launched in 1988 was highly successful with the Age selecting the campaign as one of the top two taglines of the 20th century with it being both "universal and intensely personal". [4] While Reebok was directing their campaign at aerobics during the fitness craze of the 1980s, Nike responded with "a tough, take no prisoners ad campaign". One of the campaign's objectives was to target all Americans regardless of age, gender or physical fitness level which led to Nike becoming worn as a fashion statement, not just as fitness gear (Nearly 80% of Nike’s running shoes are not worn for their intended purpose). Nike’s fundamental objective was to represent sneakers as a fashion statement to consumers, especially females, teens and males aged 18–40.

Throughout the campaign, Nike enlisted 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. Athletes such as football stars Ronaldinho and Wayne Rooney, basketball stars Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant and tennis stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were used in their advertisements, including a range of people from varying ethnicities and races.[5][unreliable source?]

Nike was faced with criticism by Ernst & Young surrounding the campaign, with the pay of elite athletes compared to those in overseas shoe factories, and for violating the minimum wage in their operations in Vietnam.[6][unreliable source?] [7]

The "Just Do It" campaign went out to a range of media outlets including merchandise, outdoor billboards, print media, and graffiti art.

It was during the period of the late 70's and early 80's in Brooklyn New York. A small pharmacy operated by Steven Smolin. A part-time worker there was his mother-in-law Marlene. She would constantly annoyingly question Steve's instruction/directives in day to day operations- as in "why can't I stock the Mylanta next to the vitamins!?"

Exasperated, Steve would end the inevitable ten minutes of bickering/reasoning with the directive- "Marlene, JUST DO IT!!" The bickering would then come to a screeching halt and Marlene would sheepishly stock the Mylanta in its appropriate instructed place.

It was not long before the rest of the store help- mostly local high school kids- began parroting this directive when addressing each other- as in "Mario- "JUST DO IT!! The small store reverberated with this exhortation multiple times a day.

Within one year, the pharmacy crew took this directive out to the streets. If a player refused to play right field, the rest of the schoolyard team would inevitably shout -"Nunzio- 'JUST DO IT!!" When these kids would later join the Bensonhurst auxiliary police, and on of their own refused to go to "another one of those domestic incident" calls, dozens of police radios would simultaneously bellow out -Lenny, "JUST DO IT!!

By the early 80's, one of the main players in this dynamic, Lenny Rizzi, came to me and said- "Steven, you're famous- your slogan is barked out on every schoolyard and basketball court in Bensonhurst.

The campaign embodied Nike's image as an innovative American icon associated with success through the combination of professional athletes and motivational slogans emphasizing sportsmanship and health. This led to customers associating their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness.[8][unreliable source?]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2015, actor Shia LaBeouf used this phrase in LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner's #INTRODUCTIONS video, which later become an Internet meme.[9]


  1. ^ "Nike Classic Branding, with slogan "Just Do It."". SeekLogo. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Birth of 'Just Do It' and Other Magic Words". New York Times. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Mini-case Study: Nike's "Just Do It" Advertising Campaign". UDOC. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  4. ^ Friedrich von Borries. "Who's Afraid of Niketown?: Nike Urbanism, Branding and the City of Tomorrow". Episode Publishers. Retrieved June 16, 2018. 
  5. ^ "Nike-Just Do It". Wendy Chung. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Nike Controversy". Stanford. Retrieved June 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Nike Shoe Plant in Vietnam Is Called Unsafe for Workers". New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Strategic Analysis of Nike". Condor. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  9. ^ Pogue, D. (June 2, 2015). "The Real Story Behind Shia LaBeouf's Hilarious 'Motivational' Rant". Yahoo. Retrieved December 27, 2016.