Happy Birthday to Nike’s “Just Do It!” It turned 25 in July and is often heralded as the tagline that has had the greatest cultural impact and mass appeal, ever! It has been adapted by some as a personal mantra for their whole lives.


Inspiration trumped data.

“Just Do It” was conceived out of sheer inspiration, in all of 20 minutes. It caused Nike’s image to soar, giving a new dimension to the term the “big idea.”

In his July 2, 2013 Adweek article “Happy 25th Birthday to Nike’s ‘Just Do It,’ The Last Great Advertising Slogan . . .“ author David Gianatasio states “Big data doesn’t necessarily kill big ideas, but it can thwart inspiration by attempting to quantify the unquantifiable.”

According to Gianatasio, a big idea yields an impact greater than the sum of the parts. Isn’t that what we all want?


Routinely, we are making decisions based upon “hits,” data sets and algorithms, but they may not always lead us to ideas that are enduring, visionary and adaptable. The results may be short-lived because the ideas conveyed are not memorable but, rather, meet the needs of a particular distribution channel in a discrete period of time.

In sum, here are action items to consider as you create your next identity campaign or marketing tagline:

  • Remain open to ideas that may not yet be backed up by data
  • Apply these tests to evaluating an idea. Is it adaptable over time? Is it bigger than its immediate use? Does it enable a personal connection?
  • Trust your gut. The power of intuition can grow your business.