Saturday, October 07, 2006

Don't mess with Texas

Yee haw, we won! Clearly more a mantra than a slogan, "Don't Mess With Texas," grabbed top honors last week in the third annual Advertising Week's Most Popular Advertising Slogan competition, beating Nike's "Just Do It," Burger King's "Have it Your Way" and "Got Milk?" among others.

The campaign, created by Austin-based advertising agency GSD&M 20 years ago, has featured a host of popular Texans in its spots: Lyle Lovett, LeAnn Rimes, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lance Armstrong, Owen Wilson and even Shamu have urged people to keep Texas clean.

I've always thought it was one of the more clever advertising campaigns, and the fact that the slogan has entered the national consciousness proves its efficacy, I reckon. Of course, I've had some people say, "'Don't Mess With Texas,' what's that all about?" And when I say it's an anti-litter campaign, people just nod their heads and say, "riiiiight." Yeah, I know it has an attitude, but would you expect anything less from Texas? That's what makes it so effective and fun.

GSD&M recently published a photo book celebrating 20 years of the campaign. It's filled with profiles of the personalities who starred in the ads over the years, the history of the campaign, and other fun bits and bites. I have a copy of this book sitting on my desk back at the office and I will give it to the first person who can tell me the answer to the following question: Which Texan starred in the first "Don't Mess With Texas" TV spot?

UPDATE: The correct answer is Stevie Ray Vaughn.

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The County Clerk said...

Stevie Ray baby!

The man.

God rest his soul.

The County Clerk said...

Oh... I blew it. Wasn't supposed to post. Sorry. (I never was accused of follwing the rukles very well.) You should delete.

Danielle said...

We actually have a set of Don't Mess With Texas playing cards. (I'm not entirely sure why, honestly. But we do.)

The County Clerk said...

I should further comment that the phrase "Don't mess with Texas" has a deeper meaning to Univ Texas Alumni. Texas A&M is "AYE & EM." Texas Tech is "Tech." Southern Methodist is "ESS EM YOU" or "SMOO." Rice is "Rice." Texas Christian is "TEA SEE YOU." North Texas State is "North Texas." But the University of Texas (at Austin) - CURRENT WORLD CHAMPS - is simply "Texas."

All are fine schools. (It is hard to disparage A&M - though it is my wont to do so - because it is such a damned fine school. And of course Rice and SMU... wow. But I turned out to be a "public school" boy.

We've hijacked "Don't Mess With Texas" to also mean: "Don't mess with UT."


I'm a long way from home. These silly things pop into my head from time to time.

Sidenote: One can't say UT ("YOU TEA") up here without people assuming you mean UNIV TENNESSEE. That freaks me out... though I say nothing.


Homesick Texan said...

County Clerk, You want the book?

Danielle, The perfect cards for Texas Hold 'Em!

Paula said...

Although I love the "Don't Mess with Texas" campaign, the best ad I've seen in Texas is a billboard outside the Oak Farms Dairy building in the heart of Houston. It shows a big, Texas sized glass of milk with the Oak Farms container next to it and the caption reads, "Got cookies?"
That should have won an award!

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