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Still Doing It: The 25th Anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” Advertising Slogan

3 Jul


Twenty five years ago this month, the first Nike “Just Do It” commercial created by advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, featuring 80-year-old Walt Stack, aired on television. AdWeek have a tremendous article on the iconic slogan which questions whether it would it would make the cut in today’s frenetic data driven marketing landscape:

When 80-year-old Walt Stack jogged across the Golden Gate Bridge in Nike’s first “Just do it” spot, chatting about his daily 17-mile run and joking that he kept his teeth from chattering in winter by leaving them in his locker, we lived in a more homogenous media world. At the time it seemed complex and cluttered, with some cable systems sporting 100 or more channels, and the recently launched Fox network broadening the broadcast funnel by 25 percent. All that was small potatoes, however, compared to today’s ever-expanding digital/mobile/shareable/wearable mega-sphere, which has turned each consumer into his or her own media production and distribution channel, and to a large extent—despite the vaunted “social” nature of it all—isolated us instead of bringing us together.

Back in ’88, a news image, song lyric, sitcom catchphrase or advertising slogan could spring to life in a way that’s nearly impossible with today’s media fragmentation. Modern content may be “snackable,” but for the most part it doesn’t stick to the ribs. Most of the lists, memes and apps are quickly, often instantly, discarded. Ideas have no time to build the momentum or gain the traction needed to become ubiquitous or, like “Just do it,” beloved.

The “big idea” is, of course, a marketing cliche. It’s considered old-school and somewhat outmoded, frequently derided by today’s data-driven practitioners. That’s a shame. Big ideas are, first and foremost, big. From a brand standpoint, they add rather than subtract, lending weight and substance to campaigns that can become unfocused and diluted by too many moving parts. Big ideas strengthen individual executions and provide platforms that make campaigns more than the sum of their parts.

Watch the first ever “Just Do It” commercial below:

Notably, Dan Wieden who came up with the slogan got inspiration from an unlikely source: Gary Gilmore, an American who gained notoriety for being executed by firing squad in 1977. Wieden tells the story in the video below. The other video is a fantastic excerpt from the documentary Art and Copy which shows the cultural impact of the “Just Do It” slogan.

[via Wieden + Kennedy]


Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – 2012 Edition

3 Jul

[via Plenty O’Toole]

The Rise and Fall of Online Empires: An Infographic

23 Mar

The Rise and Fall of Online Empires

Food for thought.

US Forces Leave Iraq

23 Dec

As we move into 2012, with little to no fan fare, this happened. Was it worth it?

The last American troops have left Iraq amid fresh concerns about the stability of the political system they are leaving behind.

The last of roughly 110 vehicles carrying around 500 troops mostly belonging to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, crossed the border into Kuwait as the sun rose on Sunday morning, leaving just a couple of hundred soldiers at the US embassy, in a country where there were once nearly 170,000 troops on 505 bases.

The generally subdued departure was punctuated by intermittent shouts of joy.

It ended a war that left tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead, many more wounded, and 1.75 million Iraqis displaced, after the US-led invasion unleashed brutal sectarian killing.

Read more at ABC News online.

On The Brink – Networked Society

8 Nov

In this new era, technology has enabled us to interact, innovate and share knowledge in whole new ways – creating a dynamic shift in mindset. People are empowered, business is liberated and society is more connected than ever. Ericsson has released a great mini-documentary that explores some of the many implications and directions of a connected world, including health, industry structure, how we socialise, and far more. On The Brink discusses the past, present and future of connectivity with a mix of people including David Rowan, chief editor of Wired UK; Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr; and Eric Wahlforss, the co-founder of Soundcloud. Each of the interviewees discusses the emerging opportunities being enabled by technology as we enter the Networked Society. Concepts such as borderless opportunities and creativity, new open business models, and today’s ‘dumb society’ are brought up and discussed. This is a great initiative and well worth a watch:

[via Ross Dawson]

RIP Steve Jobs

7 Oct
Steve Jobs Apple Logo

Image by Jonathan Mak

He’s been called a genius, an innovator and a visionary. Perhaps he was all three. Steve Jobs, the American computer entrepreneur and inventor, co-founder, chairman and executive CEO of Apple died on 5 October at age 56 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The internet was awash in messages of condolence.

He was a modern-day Edison, but, interestingly, Jobs wasn’t an engineer or a designer. However, as Cliff Kuang noted in his piece for Co.Design in August this year, he was one of the greatest users of technology of all time, and that made all the difference.

As the man who introduced the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad to the world, Jobs changed computing and communications forever. Jobs famously said, “the computer is the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.” Just as a bike allows people to travel and explore their world, the products Apple created under Steve Jobs allowed people to explore and connect to their worlds in ways never before imagined.

When a figure of Jobs’ iconic standing passes, it’s easy to get caught up in the sense of public grief. Gawker, perhaps too heavily, tried to place Jobs’ death in perspective.

Regardless of your stance, the man changed the way we live. I would say for the better.

Ever the innovator, perhaps the last word is best left to Jobs himself: “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.”

The 9/11 Decade

7 Sep

As we draw near to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the commentariat have begun looking back at the decade that was, investigating how it has shaped the United States and, more broadly, the global community.

While there is surely much more to be written as September 11 fast approaches, two extraordinarily good pieces have caught my attention. The first is Frank Rich’s article in New York Magazine. In his opening sentence, Rich quips, “It was ‘the day that changed everything,’ until it didn’t”.

In retrospect, the most consequential event of the past ten years may not have been 9/11 or the Iraq War but the looting of the American economy by those in power in Washington and on Wall Street.

In such an alternative telling of the decade’s history, the key move Bush made after 9/11 had nothing to do with military strategy or national-security policy. It was instead his considered decision to rule out shared sacrifice as a governing principle for the fight ahead. Sacrifice was high among the unifying ideals that many Americans hoped would emerge from the rubble of ground zero, where so many Good Samaritans had practiced it. But the president scuttled the notion on the first weekend after the attack, telling Americans that it was his “hope” that “they make no sacrifice whatsoever” beyond, perhaps, tolerating enhanced airline security. Few leaders in either party contradicted him. Bush would soon implore us to “get down to Disney World in Florida” and would even lend his image to a travel-industry ad promoting tourism. Our marching orders were to go shopping.

By framing the events of 9/11 in these terms, Rich suggests, the Bush administration unwittingly helped to exacerbate the current economic crisis in the United States:

By portraying Afghanistan and Iraq as utterly cost-free to a credulous public, the Bush administration injected the cancer into the American body politic that threatens it today: If we don’t need new taxes to fight two wars, why do we need them for anything?

The intervening years since 9/11 have evidently provided the benefit of perspective. This is illustrated nicely in David J. Rothkopf’s piece for Foreign Policy. In a similar vain to Rich, Rothkopf writes:

Indeed, we have been overestimating its significance since almost the moment it happened.

That is not, by the way, to diminish the brutal blows struck 10 years ago or the deeply felt human experiences associated with it and its aftermath. Rather it is to say that once again we will seek to frame 9/11 as a great event, the definer of an era, when in fact, its greatest defining characteristic was that of a distraction — The Great Distraction — that drew America’s focus and that of many in the world from the greater issues of our time. That distraction and the opportunity costs associated with it were bin Laden’s triumph and our loss — and our ultimate victory will come as we get a grip back on reality.

Rothkopf goes on to suggest 10 events of the past decade which are, culturally speaking, more important than the tragic events of 9/11. He suggests that with the benefit of time, we are now, collectively, able to look beyond the attack to other milestones that have shaped (and are continuing to shape) us.

Rothkopf nominates the following ten events:

10. The American Response to 9/11
9. The Arab Spring
8. The Rebalancing of Asia
7. The Stagnation of the U.S. and Other Developed-World Economies
6. The Invention of Social Media
5. The Proliferation of Cell Phones and Hand-Held Computing Devices
4. The Crash of 2008
3. The Eurozone Crisis and the Crash of 2011-2012
2. The Failure to Address Global Warming
1. The Rise of China and the Other BRICs

Food for thought, indeed.

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