The Nike tagline “Just Do It” has been synonymous with action sports and its line of performance footwear since the catchphrase was coined in 1988.
In a new ad campaign for the brand in China, the label aims to make sure its slogan isn’t lost in translation.
For the international audience, Nike reveals the essence of “Just Do It” by, oddly enough, preceding it with a series of “You don’t have to do it” scenarios.
“Growing up in China, I was surrounded by people who simply used the English words ‘Just Do It’ as a punch line without knowing what it really means,” said business director Dino Xu of W+K Shangai, the company behind the commercial, in Ad Week. “It’s great that in this campaign, the provocative voice-over lines help to define what it is, by saying what it isn’t.”
The video shows amateur and professional athletes wearing Nike sneakers while engaging in a variety of sports. A voice-over begins with the line: “You don’t have to do it for the glory” — and throughout the commercial, the scenarios offer clarity, adding comments such as: “You don’t have to do it to be famous” and “You don’t have to do it for the boys.” The ad wraps up with: “All we said was, ‘Just Do It.’ ”
Nike has been expanding its presence in China for the past 20 years, with some of its top players touring the country, including the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant in July.