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Great Art February 27, 2009

Posted by Fritz in Yachts and other things that float.
Tags: , , , ,


I was zipping around the web today and saw this.  Even though I have seen it hundreds of times before, it evokes such a powerful reaction every time.

I think it is arguably one of the best branding slogans evah!  It’s longevity, universality, and simplicity make it a great icon for the State. Coupled with the Texas state flag, which is my favorite of all state flags, it creates such a powerful message.

From Wikipedia:

The phrase Don’t Mess with Texas is a trademark of the Texas Dept. of Transportation, and is part of a statewide advertising campaign, started in 1986, to reduce littering on Texas roadways. The slogan was created by the Austin-based advertising agency  GSD&M, which handled the campaign until 1998. Since this date, the campaign has been managed by Austin based EnviroMedia Social Marketing. It has since garnered national attention.

The phrase was prominently shown on road signs on major highways, as well as in television, radio and print advertisements. The campaign is credited with reducing litter on Texas highways 72% between 1986 and 1990.

More than its immediate success at reducing litter, however, the slogan became a Texas cultural phenomenon and the slogan has been appropriated by the citizens of Texas for general use. Though it appears on countless items of tourist paraphernalia, the phrase is actually a federally registered trademark; the department has tried at times to enforce its trademark rights, with limited success. The slogan is a frequently cited example of Texan cultural elitism.

Twenty years after its introduction, the success and popularity of “Don’t Mess with Texas” has earned it a spot among the best advertising slogans ever.


Truly iconic advertising/branding slogans are rare.  They have to meet so many different challenges and deliver on every level.  From being simply good art to unmistakeably identifying the product or service in the minds of the consumer across all mediums.  It must also stand the test of time and yet be malleable enough to absorb the cultural changes that naturally work against it.

Don’t Mess with Texas stands pretty darn tall.

A side note:

I also like the slogan because it is perceived as elitist.  I’ve lived in Texas and there is a magical thing that happens when you’re there, even for a short time.  You start to feel just a little superior to the rest of the country.  It’s an honest emotion that is earned through living among others who share traditional values that lift up rather than bring down. The sense of individual responsibility is so much more prevalent.  When success comes, the victory is that much sweeter because the Texan knows he earned it.



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