4 Pieces of Pop Culture That Inspired Unlikely Things

#2. The Redesign for the Nissan GT-R was Inspired by Giant Cartoon Robots

Ken Ishii/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Nissan Skyline GT-R is one of those mythical Japanese cars that American street racers pop massive boners over in lusty anticipation of one day being able to drive. For a variety of reasons, the GT-R was not certified for sale in the U.S. until 2008. Like any car that's been around for decades, the GT-R has gone through a lot of stylistic changes. In 1957, it looked like the car that once flew Harry Potter to Hogwarts:


It got mad pussy as it went through its badass muscle car phase in the 1970s:


And it went through its obnoxious "Look at me, everyone! I'm a street racer! Vrrooooommm!" phase in the late '90s:


When it came time for a redesign for a new age of GT-Rs, Nissan's chief creative officer, Shiro Nakamura, wanted to veer away from Western styling and create something that would perfectly reflect Japanese culture ...

The Inspiration:

... so he based the design on big ass fighting robots in anime. Specifically, the big ass fighting robots from the Gundam series. Here are the "Mobile Suits" from Gundam:


And here's the redesigned GT-R:


The car doesn't have a face and completely lacks weaponry, but if you were to design a car to look like a militarized robotic suit, but not so much that people would think you're stupid for having designed such an impractical and probably ugly car, the 2008 GT-R is almost exactly what you would come up with. It's also the best choice among the other shallow first choices Nakamura could have made when he tried to think of how to sum up Japan in the form of a car. We could have had a chopstick mobile, or a Godzilla dragster.

#1. Nike's "Just Do It" Slogan Was Inspired by the Last Words of a Murderer

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Anyone who has ever reached or come close to "fat slob" status has watched Nike commercials with steely-eyed determination, as if we see a bit of ourselves in the rippling pecs of the professional athlete who wouldn't be so ripped if he weren't getting paid millions to be ripped. We see that iconic slogan of theirs, "Just Do It," and it commands us to buy $180 shoes we'll use twice for working out and an incalculable number of times for ordering pizza.

A marketing-induced mirage seen after eating too many hot dogs in the sun.

That slogan is a stroke of genius, a three-word master class in making people believe they can be better, stronger, faster if they stop talking about doing something and "Just Do It" already. Surely the source of this slogan was some legendary athlete in a stirring late-game rallying speech delivered just before he hit the winning shot, right?

The Inspiration:

Nope! Nike's world-famous slogan is a slight reworking of the last words spoken by a convicted murderer seconds before he was killed by firing squad.

Clark County Prosecutor's Office
"One day, I'll be an inspiration to millions!"

In Utah in 1976, Gary Gilmore robbed and killed a gas station worker and a motel manager. Because he was really stupid, he somehow managed to shoot himself in the hand while trying to hide his gun. His cousin turned him in after Gilmore called her asking for painkillers and bandages. After a brisk two-day trial, the jury recommended the death penalty. Gilmore had two choices: die by hanging or die by firing squad, because Utah was trapped in a time bubble where it never stopped being the Wild West. Gilmore chose getting shot. Strapped to a chair and with the gunmen lined up, Gilmore was asked for his last words: "Let's do it," he said.

In 1988, Nike went to the Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency for a new marketing campaign. Agency co-founder Dan Wieden remembered Gary Gilmore's last words and thought the "do it" part sounded enough like a faux-motivational thing a sports person would say, so "Let's" was swapped out for "Just" and one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever was born.

Damn. That's some dark shit. The "Bo Knows" campaign had better not really be about how Bo Jackson knows where a bunch of bodies are buried.

"Bo knows. Oh, yes. Bo. Knows."

Luis Prada has inspired millions of pornographers across the globe. Let him inspire you by following him on Twitter and Tumblr.

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