Nike “Just Do It” Campaign
Valdosta State University
The campaign I decided to research was the “Just Do It” campaign done by Nike. Named after the Greek goddess of victory, it is no surprise that Nike has been one of the most successful sports apparel franchises in history. The brand was born through the collaboration of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman and Blue Ribbon Sports associate Phil Knight. Seeking a profitable career without giving up his love for sports, Phil Knight ventured out into the field entrepreneurship by taking a trip to Japan upon graduating college. It was there he came across the Tiger brand running shoe. Impressed with the style and low cost, Knight had a few pair shipped to his home in America. It was then he decided to send pair to Bowerman. Both men shared a mutual admiration for the shoe and immediately partnered in attempt to recreate and distribute their version of this shoe. Advertisement agent Dan Wieden has accredited the infamous “Just Do It,’ slogan to Gary Gilman’s (an inmate who demanded his execution be carried out upon being convicted of two murders) last words “Let’s do it.” Originating in 1988, this campaign helped Nike’s share of the domestic sport shoe business from 18% to 43%. In the following paper I will be describing this campaign as well as applying theories learned in class. In Chapter 2, we studied Attitudes: Definition, Formation, and Measurement. We learned that in persuasion, the objective is to change an attitude, belief, behavior, and/or behavior intention. This relates directly to Nike’s marketing and PR strategy because the first step in selling a product is creating a need for it. By doing this you create a market for that product because you are creating a subconscious “need” for it by the consumer. For example, during the birth decade of this campaign, (the 1980’s) America experienced a fitness craze that sent exercise equipment sales soaring. Nike took advantage of this by tweaking their campaign to fit vital characteristics of attitudes. The chapter goes on to explain that although consistent, attitudes are not necessarily hard to change. We also learned that attitudes are learned. What better way to influence a target group of people than through someone else? Nike began to do endorsement deals with high profile celebrities in order to help push forward the campaign. One ad in particular featured body builder/ actor Arnold Swarchneiger. This was a major step in promoting the campaign because not only was he one of the most sought after celebrities of that decade, he was the face of masculinity and fitness. One of the greatest celebrity endorsements of all time was Michael Jordan’s collaboration with Nike’s Just Do It campaign. Nike offered Jordan $500,000 a year in cash for five years, (This was unheard of at the time.) making this the highest contract since James Worthy’s deal with New Balance in 1988. To protect the company, Nike included a clause in Jordan's deal that said if he did not win Rookie of the Year, become an All-Star, or average 20 points per game in his first three years; it could end the deal two years early. However, if he did none of those things but still managed to sell the shoe, he‘d get the last two years of the deal. Michael Jordan’s popularity in basketball as well as in pop culture made him the perfect embodiment for athleticism and achievement fitness. Nike’s Just Do It campaign was so unique because it was meticulously calculated down to the name of the slogan. Although originally inspired by Gary Gilmore, there were other components to look for in creating a name for such an influential campaign. Peter Moore, the Air Jordan logo designer for Nike, said 'Just Do It' "is perfect for Nike. ... It was quick, easy, cocky, to the point, and a bit irreverent, all of which Nike is." Don Dickenson, the advertising program director at Portland State University says the slogan is "the quintessential Battle Cry...
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