|Echocomics - Makeshift Studios 2012|
In 2006 I interviewed T.V. Smith, a one time pop star in the punk era. The story was pegged to commemorate 30 years since the emergence of this musical genre. Smith, whose real name is Tim, was a dream to interview. He was the founder of a band called The Adverts, which included a woman bass player called Gaye Advert (real name Gaye Black). Tim eventually married Gaye and after a relatively short career with the band, two albums and seven singles including two top 40 hits, T.V. Smith left to pursue a solo career.
The Adverts are, perhaps, best known for their single Gary Gilmore's Eyes, released in August 1977 and based on the notorious American criminal. It peaked at number 18 in the charts some eight months after Gilmore had been executed for murder.
If Gary Gilmore's notoriety inspired T.V. Smith and his band, The Adverts, we also find him (Gilmore) behind a $ multi-million campaign which has, at some point, touched us all.
"The 'Just Do it' Nike slogan is originally attributed to Dan Weiden, who is said to have come up with the idea at an ad agency meeting in 1988.
Weiden, of slick ad firm Weiden and Kennedy, in turn, has claimed he was inspired by double murderer Gary Gilmore. Gilmore, who was shot by firing squad on January 17, 1977, for two murders he committed in Utah, is reported to have said 'let's do it' when asked if he had any last words.
It seems weird that the last words of an executed murderer should be re-interpreted to spearhead the ad campaign of a leading sports brand, but that is how magpie global economics can be. The final words of a killer incorporated into one of the most iconic slogans on the planet. A powerful in-your-face and 'classic' three-word line responsible for shifting millions of Nike units every year." (Excerpt from Rush Hour : When I Grow Up...)
Art steals, once again, from real life to feed the machine. The life and death of a Utah double murderer inspires the creative juices of two innovators for financial ends.
For Smith and Weiden the idea for hit record and expensive ad campaign respectively, both of which made serious money for the men, and the companies they represented, came from one source.
And, yet, there is another line to this story.
Gilmore's crimes, or, at least, those for which he was executed, were committed in Utah, and Utah, of course, is the recognised spiritual home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Mormons arrived in Utah from Illinois and before that Missouri and Ohio as they trekked across the United States looking for a safe haven for their religion...but then, that's another story.