6 Fun Facts About Nike
Sep 08, 2021
Nike is an iconic brand best known for its shoes. Since the 1940s, they have been the driving force behind sneaker culture. Curious about this sportswear brand? Read on for 6 Nike facts.
1. Nike’s Slogan: Inspired by a Murderer
Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”, has a sinister story behind it. The slogan was inspired by Utah criminal Gary Gilmore in the 1970s. After committing a double murder, he faced execution by firing squad. In his final moments, he said, “Let’s do it.” Later, Nike hired advertising agency Wieden and Kennedy to help them with selling shoes. The agency found inspiration in Gilmore’s last words. They adapted his phrase to, “Just Do It” and used it as Nike’s new slogan in a 1988 TV ad. It was a major hit!
2. The Great Shoe Spill of 1990
The Hansa Carrier, a container ship, accidentally lost a large amount of Nike sneakers while at sea in May, 1990. The ship sailed into a storm, and 21 cargo containers fell into the Pacific ocean - some of which contained Nike Air Jordans. It’s estimated that over 60,000 sneakers were lost in the accident. Months later, the shoes started washing ashore in North America!
3. Beatles Lawsuit Against Nike
Nike’s 1987 Air Revolution TV ad was a source of controversy. The black and white ad featured athletes doing their thing, with the song Revolution by the Beatles playing in the background. The Beatles and their record company, Apple Records, were not happy about their song being used without permission. They launched a lawsuit against the brand for $15 million dollars. Nike stopped the ad from running and ended up settling the case out-of-court, but it’s a complete mystery as to what the terms were.
4. The Story of the Swoosh Logo
Nike’s logo was designed in 1971 by graphic designer Carolyn Davidson. At the time, Davidson was a student in college looking for extra money. She created the highly recognizable Swoosh logo and was paid $35 for it. In 1983, after the brand had grown, she was invited to a special event where she was recognized as the logo’s creator by Nike executives. She was given a diamond swoosh ring and 500 shares of the brand’s stock as a present.
5. Nike and Adidas Competed for Michael Jordan
When Michael Jordan started playing in the NBA at the ripe young age of 21, he had a decision to make. He could either partner with Nike, or rival shoe-maker Adidas. He loved to wear Adidas, so he was leaning towards picking them. However, his parents urged him to take up Nike’s offer of $500,000 a year for five years, two Mercedes cars, and custom shoes. Jordan listened and took the deal. This is how Nike’s Air Jordans line was born.
6. Nike’s Sustainability Initiative - Reuse a Shoe Program
In the 1990s, Nike aimed to lessen its environmental impact. Employee Steve Potter had the great idea of upcycling old shoes into reusable material to help accomplish this goal. This led to the birth of their sustainability program, Reuse-A-Shoe. The program collects Nike shoes from consumers and transforms them into a new material called Nike Grind. The material is used to help build Nike stores and products. So far, 28 million shoes have been collected!
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