Advertising documentary lifts lid on Nike's 'Just Do It'

By Jennifer Whitehead,, Thursday, 20 August 2009 10:15AM

NEW YORK - Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein are among the luminaries of the US ad industry to appear in a documentary that, among other things, lifts the lid on how some of the most famous slogans were thought up.

Art & Copy is directed by Doug Pray, a documentary filmmaker who has previously turned his lens on the Seattle music scene and long-haul truck drivers.

Its release coincides with a 'Mad Men'-inspired wave of interest in the real people who work on Madison Avenue, the Fleet Street of the US ad industry.

The film reveals a little known fact about the 'Just Do It' slogan used by Nike, which is that it was derived from the phrase "let's do it" -- the last words uttered by Gary Gilmore, the murderer who notoriously asked to be executed by firing squad.

It also delves in to the background of some other famous American slogans including 'Got Milk?' and 'Where's the beef?', which promote milk and the fast food chain Wendy's respectively.

The documentary also looks at some of the more controversial figures in US advertising, famous for challenging the mediocrity prevalent in the industry.

Appearing along with Wieden, Goodby and Silverstein are Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative director at TBWA\Chiat Day and the inventor of Apple's 'Think Different' slogan, and the late Hal Riney, founder of Publicis & Hal Riney.

The film opens on limited release in the US tomorrow. Details of UK distribution are not yet available.

Doug Pray's most recent documentary, 'Surfwise', has been screened on More4. Pray has also directed ads.

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