We’ve all heard the story about how it was a university student who designed the infamous Nike swoosh. Carolyn Davidson was a student at the Portland State University when she designed it for a mere $35 and the logo has since gone on to become synonymous with the brand.

As it turns out, the brand’s tagline ‘Just Do It’ was also inspired by a murderer’s last words. 

Yes, you read that right!


Dan Wieden, the Co-founder of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, who was the executive behind the ad campaign, recently revealed the story to Deezen magazine.

Gary Gilmore, a murderer from Portland, had killed a couple of people in Utah and sentenced to death by a firing squad in 1977. According to some reports, his last words before facing the firing squad was ‘Let’s do this.’

Sick Chirpse

Talking about how he was struggling to crack a line for Nike, Wieden said: “I was recalling a man in Utah who was sent to jail and put before a firing squad. They asked him if he had any final thoughts and he said: ‘Let’s do this’.”

“I didn’t like ‘Let’s do this’ so I just changed it to ‘Just do it’.”

The Wallpaper

Just like the swoosh, the tagline has become as famous as the brand, and now you can’t say ‘Just do it’ to somebody without reminding them of the brand.

So there you have it. That’s how a university student and a mass murderer contributed to one of the biggest campaigns in advertising history!