Three Copywriting Lessons from “Just Do It”

 

Just do it.

Why does this slogan work?

It is personal.
We’ve all experienced someone saying those words to us.

  • Coaches shout those words at team members to finish drills.
  • Parents use those words to cajole children into chores.
  • Our own conscience urges us to keep going.

It works because it resonates with human experience. We’ve spoken those words and had them spoken to us.

Next time you write copy ask yourself: Have I heard real humans talk like this?

It is aspirational.
It invites us to turn dreams into reality.

  • Buy the shoes so you can be at your best during tryouts.
  • Buy the apparel so you can train for the marathon.
  • Buy the new gear so you can perform like a champion.

It works because we all dream of doing new and better things. We just need someone to tell us to “just do it.”

Next time you write copy ask yourself: Does this tap into a human desire?

It is simple.
It doesn’t make me think or decipher industry jargon.

It clarifies and motivates with brevity.

  • Simple word count: 3 words.
  • Simple character count: 8 letters.
  • Simple vocabulary: kindergarten level.

Good copy is extremely difficult. It is easier to write long sentences and talk like an insider about features and specs.

Next time you write copy ask yourself: Will the reader immediately understand it?

Nike’s slogan has been in use for more than three decades and it shows no sign of becoming irrelevant soon. The story of how Wieden & Kennedy came up with the slogan is a different story altogether.

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