Dan Weiden, the co-founder of Weiden & Kennedy, was working on a new series of ads for Nike. The ad campaign featured athletes performing different sports and was visually compelling but it needed the added punch of a good tagline.
Weiden was still struggling to come up with a new slogan the night before the campaign presentation when a random thought popped into his head. He suddenly thought of the final words of condemned murderer Gary Gilmore as he stood before the firing squad: “Let’s do it”.
With a little tweak it became “Just do it”. It perfectly captured the essence of the ad campaign and went on to become one of the most famous advertising taglines of all time.
Great creative advertising is not the result of a standard formula. What may seem pretty random is actually someone paying attention to what bubbles up from their subconscious and recognizing a great idea, regardless of its origin!