‘Just Do It’ is Number Two

The famous Nike slogan ‘Just Do It’ was selected by Forbes’ magazine as the Number Two best-loved advertising tagline in history. Frankly, I think Number Two is exactly what ‘Just Do It’ is.

Just do what, exactly? The ads always show some sort of sporting activity with ‘Just do it’ plastered on top (Though with Tiger Woods’ recent escapades, putting ‘Just do it’ over his image has taken on a new meaning).

That’s part of what I don’t think ‘Just Do It’ deserves to be named on the best advertising taglines: because it’s not just the tagline that makes the ad work.

Imagine this (which I’ve stolen from ‘Romeo is Bleeding’):

See? It’s not the tagline that makes Nike’s ads work.

Here’s another problem I have: Why should I ‘just do’ something? Didn’t Nazi foot-soldiers ‘just do it’? Didn’t Jeffrey Dahmer ‘just do it’? Didn’t Mohammed Atta ‘just do it’? Wouldn’t we all be better off if they had ‘just thought about it’ instead?

I guess that’s the last piece of what bothers me about ‘just do it’: it appeals to people who don’t think about it. The tagline sounds good. Good enough for a bumper sticker, and nothing more.

Forget about the best taglines of all time. What about the worst? The worst one I can think of is Bud Lite’s absolutely insipid old slogan: “Why ask why?” I didn’t see that one anywhere on Forbes’ list, of course. Why ask why? Seriously, why ask why? Um, because THAT’S HOW YOU LEARN STUFF! That’s why you should ask why!

Why is no bacteria growing on this petri dish? Why are diamonds hard but sponges are not? Why does the eastern coast of South America look like it could fit into the western coast of Africa?

But Bud Lite tried to tell us: Don’t ask why. Just drink our beer. Just drink it. When you get right down to it, actually, ‘why ask why’ basically means ‘just do it’. So let’s just do it and ask why ask why didn’t ‘why ask why’ make Forbes’ list, too?

Oh yes, why as why? That’s for people who think about stuff. Don’t think – just do it.


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