J is for Just Do IT

Just Do IT

Nike’s motto – definitely not mine. I’ve struggled with procrastination issues all my life. I usually get it done – but I rarely Just Do IT. I like to think about it, talk about it, ignore it for a while, and when I finally can’t put it off any longer – DO IT – with varying degrees of enthusiasm and success.

Just Do IT people don’t really understand folks like me. Sometimes I wish I were a little more like them but usually caution (or common sense as my husband, who is even less of a “Just Do IT” person than I am, would say) prevails. I study the situation a bit longer and maybe clean my desk or sharpen my pencils (or write a blog post, like this one for example) and then get started on IT.

When the idea of writing about Just Do IT popped into my head this morning for the letter J in the #AtoZChallenge I Googled the phrase and learned that it came out of an ad agency meeting in the late 1980s. Dan Wieden co-founder of Wieden + Kennedy is credited with coming up with the phrase.  He recalled the final words of a convicted murderer as his inspiration for the phrase, which became one of Nike’s trademarks along with the famous Nike swish.

I wandered around the internet a bit longer and came across a 2011 article from Mental Floss.[1] Gary Gilmore was convicted of murder in Utah in 1976.  When asked if he had any final words before he was executed by a firing squad he said “Let’s do it.” Wow – even if that were my inspiration for a world famous slogan I’m not sure I’d want to admit it. All the more proof that I’m not a Just Do IT kind of gal. But now I needed to research not only the Nike slogan but Gary Gilmore as well. (Are you beginning to understand why I never “Just Do” anyTHING?)

In January 1977, Gary Gilmore was the first person executed in the US after the Supreme Court lifted a ten-year moratorium on the death penalty. He was convicted of murdering a motel desk clerk and gas station attendant in Utah. By the law in Utah at the time, which allowed the person sentenced to death to choose his method of execution, Gary Gilmore chose the firing squad. He rejected attempts by others to seek an appeal or to stay his execution although the ACLU and his mother did obtain two stays of execution. One of his last requests, to be executed without wearing a hood, was denied. He was executed on January 17, 1977.

Fast forward ten years when Dan Wieden recalled Gary Gilmore’s final words, tweaked them a bit and created one of the best known ad slogans of all time. Somehow knowing all this doesn’t make me any more inclined to buy Nikes (they’re too narrow for my foot) or Just Do IT. But at least my post for today is DONE!  


[1] http://mentalfloss.com/article/28478/stories-behind-6-famous-slogans


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