English: Nike Laser III Synthetic Blue/Black/Volt Colorway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I found this quote recently, — which if I remembered where, I would fully attribute: “’Just do it’ is a slogan that resonates with consumers beyond the sports enthusiast.”
It would be foolish of me to minimize the strength of their slogan, the power of the brand and the loyalty of its users, as evidenced by their having over ten million Facebook fans.
Far be it for me to disagree with all that. But I will now do so, sort of. Because while this may be true for Nike, if you are a small business owner looking to build your brand, I am not sure that a cheering section exhortation would be the way to go. Nike is a $10.7 billion brand and can afford to spend behind and make an impact no matter what the tag line is. And yourself?
[Edited background, from Wikipeida: Nike was formed, under a different name, in 1964. By 1980, Nike had attained a 50% market share. Their first television commercials ran in 1982. The first use of “Just Do It” wasn’t until 1988. The inspiration for the slogan was the last words spoken by Gary Gilmore before he was executed, “Let’s Do It.”]
Can you imagine me coming into a small client’s offices and suggesting a generic tag line for their line of athletic shoes, based on a notorious murderer’s last words? Yes, I would tell them they have to do something different and unexpected to stand out. I would point out the power, relevancy and impact of the visuals. And then I would show them the campaign I really wanted them to buy.
I know this is heresy. After all, the slogan was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five of the 20th century. But having the concern of the small business owners (my readers) in mind, and not companies with billions in annual revenue, I would suggest, with all the usual caveats (your category, competition, etc.), that unless you have really deep pockets, you need a more differentiating tag line.
Just because Nike did it doesn’t mean you should just do it.