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What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest by Denise Lee Yohn

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Chapter 2

Great Brands Avoid Selling Products

Just Do It” is one of the best-known advertising taglines of all time. But it’s more than just a pithy phrase; it embodies the counterintuitive approach to brand building that underlies what great brands do.

In 1987, Nike’s advertising agency had produced a new television spot for the company, one that celebrated Nike’s early role in founding the jogging craze in America. Stunning visuals were shot at the University of Oregon running track where the first Nike shoes were developed. Clips of famous runners, including Steve Prefontaine (who died tragically at age twenty-five), were cut into the ad. “It started here,” a voice intoned. “The Fitness Revolution that changed America.”

The ad was meant to ...

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