The origins of the Nike logo and its slogan “Just Do It”
This year is the 30th anniversary of Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It”. Let’s remember how one of the great phrases of advertising was created.
It is 30 years since the creation of one of the most famous advertising slogans: “Just Do It” by Nike. Today we are going to review how the company founded by Phil Knight created the logo and the famous phrase.
Nike is one of the brands that usually appear on the most valuable lists and one of those that usually has a stronger presence around the world. The recognition ratio of the brands main elements is high. All the brand image invites you to lead a sporting life, to move, to break with the limits. That is what consumers think when they see the logo and the slogan.
The truth is that the two elements par excellence of the brand image of Nike have, in addition, a rather curious story behind. Neither of them has a great origin: the logo was a poorly paid job to a designer and the slogan is inspired by a rather dark event.
As far as the logo is concerned, it has no great creative genius behind it who bill millions (at least at the exact moment in which it did). Nike’s logo creation work was by Carolyn Davidson, a design student whom the brand’s founder knew because he taught accounting at the university where she studied. The premise was to create a logo that generated the idea of movement.
Davidson did the logo design work, in 1971, and received a payment of 35$ (with inflation now would be in little more than $ 200) by which he would end up becoming one of the most recognized logos in the world. Nike gave him in the 1980s a package of shares as a compensatory payment in arrears.
As for the slogan, its story is a bit more shocking and curious and has much more potential to get the media to indulge in a frenzy of news on the subject. The inspirer of Nike’s slogan was a murderer, as the American press has just published and how it has begun to viralize in the network.
The history of the slogan
The slogan ‘Just Do It’ appeared in a Nike advertising campaign in the 80’s and quickly became a kind of chorus that always accompanies the communications of the brand and is quickly recognized by consumers. As they point out in Business Insider, it is the slogan that has earned Nike to make billions of dollars.
Behind the slogan is Dan Wieden, a creative who established the phrase while working on the campaign. But he was inspired by Gary Gilmore, who a decade ago had killed two people. “I remembered this man from Portland,” Wieden explains when asked about the genesis of the slogan. “They asked him if he had any final thoughts” before shooting Gilmore. “He just said Let’s do it, I did not like Let’s do it, so I just changed it for Just Do It.”
The phrase was included as the closing of a television campaign starring an 80-year-old retiree who was still running many kilometers each day and became a catchy element for the spectators.
Nike then needed to be a recognized brand and position itself well among the spectators to be able to beat Reebok, who was then his great rival. Nike did it, the campaign managed to confirm the phrase as a claim and the company launched into global success. In the 1980s, Nike’s rise to the lists of the most valuable companies in the market began. In a decade, Nike’s sales went from 877 million dollars to 9,200 million dollars. The forecasts for this year is that the firm will bill 28,000 million dollars.
Very good marketing decisions
Decisions on marketing and brand positioning have been one of the keys to Nike’s success. The history of Nike goes back to the 70s in a sports products store: Blue Ribbons Sports. This was dedicated to the import of Asics footwear from Japan. Philip Knight decided to start making his own models of sports shoes and there was born Nike, named for the Greek goddess of victory.
The company managed to position itself thanks to very good brand decisions. And it turned the brand into a compendium of market successes. His first ad appeared in print in 1976 and he was betting on what would end up making the communications of this brand something different. It did not focus on the product, but it showed a runner (his silhouette and very small) in the middle of nature, silhouetted against a lake. Nike was betting then to put emphasis on sensations, emotions, instead of the benefits of the product.
In 1982 they began to advertise on television. Knight was not very convinced with the idea of needing ads (but he paid attention to the agency that brought him the publicity), and shortly after they made the decision to unite his brand to a famous athlete. They signed Michael Jordan, who even had his own line of special footwear inside the brand, and it was a brilliant move for the positioning of the brand. After that came the ad with the logo and Nike was consolidated as what we know today: a very recognized brand with a brand image that everyone is able to identify.