History behind Nike’s famous slogan: ‘Just do it’ were the last words of a convicted killer

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Just what would you do, if you heard these words, ‘ Just do it?’ Run for 5 miles? Shoot a perfect 3 pointer? Send the ball flying into the goal post?

Nike`s tagline does have a burning motivation in it, which seems to bring that last ounce of energy into the circuit. But it also has a desperation to it, a last minute call to get over whatever one is stuck with. And if one can connect with Nike’s raw appeal to athletic emotions, it is because it actually comes from a person who was facing a just-do-it-and-get-it-over-with situation in his life.

The tagline takes its inspiration from the last words of Utah killer Gary Gilmore, who was sentenced to death in 1977 for robbery and murder, the Independent reported.

“We came up with five different 30 second spots. The night before [a meeting with Nike] I got concerned because… there wasn’t an overlying sensibility to them all. Some were funny, some were solemn. So I thought…’we need a tagline to pull this stuff together’,” the Independent quoted Dan Wieden, the guy who came up with the adrenaline releasing mantra of Nike, from Dezeen magazine.

Dan Wieden must have felt the desperation behind the words, ‘Let’s do this’ as he remembered Gary Gilmore shouting them at the firing squad during his execution, and realized how similar they were to a coach’s call for motivation before he submitted his pitch with a slightly altered tagline, ‘Just do it.’