Meet Dave and Dan.

The name of this class is Strategic Message Design.  For a while, I treated strategic as a synonym for complicated.  It’s not surprising, if you think about it.  When I think of strategy, I picture hours of planning and thought, working hard to come up with the best possible answer.

It wasn’t until just recently that I realized a strategic message doesn’t have to be long and complex.  It can be as simple as you make it, and maybe even more effective.

David Kennedy (left) and Dan Wieden

Meet David and Dan.

David Kennedy and Dan Wieden are the founders of Wieden + Kennedy, one of the most successful independently owned advertising agencies in the world.  These two gentlemen are masters in their field, and the inspiration behind this blog post.  Creators of possibly the most simple and effective slogan ever written.

That’s right, they were the creators of Nike’s Just Do It campaign — one of the most successful communication campaigns ever conducted.

Dave and Dan are important because they embody the philosophy of brutal simplicity, a strategy proving to be incredibly effective in winning over an audience. How effective, you ask?

The Just Do It campaign was launched in 1988, and named one of the top five advertising slogans of the 20th century by Advertising Age. It was later enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. Yes, the Smithsonian.  So what do we have to learn from Wieden + Kennedy?

In a world cluttered with “too much advertising,” short and powerful messages usually have a much larger effect on our target audience.  The concept of Just Do It could have easily been explained in a sentence, maybe even a paragraph.  That wasn’t strong enough for Nike though, or Dave and Dan for that matter.  Instead, they got the point across in three words.  The approach was short, meaningful, and strong. It was effective.  It was strategic.  

To learn more about the inspiration and thought-process behind the Just Do It campaign, as well as the tremendous impact it had on America’s society, feel free to watch the video below.

Once again, thanks for the time.


7 thoughts on “Meet Dave and Dan.

  1. “Just Do it,” is such an amazing slogan. To see it still be super effective in the world we live in today nearly 30 years after it was developed says an awful lot. It’s remarkable what advertising agencies are able to come up with. Truly the best of the best are acknowledge and credited with more customers.

  2. […] able to come up with. Truly the best of the best are acknowledge and credited with more customers. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  3. kenkeil06 says:

    Very cool post, something I never really payed much atttention to but it is so true. This simple slogan of “Just Do It” is Nike. It is crazy how long it has been around, and how long it will still be around.

  4. […] It doesn’t really surprise me at all that the Boy Scouts would not put this on their website. Very interesting article, thanks for posting the link! kenkeil06 says: October 1, 2012 at 3:31 am […]

  5. jilllondino says:

    From its resilience and notoriety, it is every advertiser’s dream to come out with the next brilliantly-successful “Just Do It” slogan. I certainly agree that the description of “strategic” being associated with many concepts can sometimes connect the subject with being complicated. However, with the strategic nature of Nike’s famous slogan, it almost becomes ironic that it could be created in such a strategic nature, due to its incredibly popular and seemingly-simple position within our culture.

  6. You’re right. Strategic does not always = complicated (though it may feel that way in class sometimes!) Strategic can = intentional, grounded in research, appropriate…whether it’s a bunch of words or just three.

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