Don't Mess with Texas
The phrase Don’t Mess with Texas is a trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 of the Texas Department of Transportation
Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation is a governmental agency in the U.S. state of Texas. Its stated mission is to "work cooperatively to provide safe, effective and efficient movement of people and goods" throughout the state...

, which began as part of a statewide advertising campaign
Advertising campaign
An advertising campaign is a series of advertisement messages that share a single idea and theme which make up an integrated marketing communication...

 started in 1986. The intention behind the Don't Mess with Texas campaign was to reduce littering on Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 roadways and has garnered national attention.

The phrase "Don't Mess with Texas" was prominently shown on road signs on major highways, television, radio and in print advertisements. The campaign is credited with reducing litter on Texas highways roughly 72% between 1986 and 1990. The campaign's target market was 18-35 year old males, which was statistically shown to be the most likely to litter. While the slogan was originally not intended to become a cultural icon, it did.

Beyond its immediate role in reducing litter, the slogan became a Texas cultural phenomenon and the slogan has been popularly appropriated by Texans. Though it appears on countless items of tourist souvenir
A souvenir , memento, keepsake or token of remembrance is an object a person acquires for the memories the owner associates with it. The term souvenir brings to mind the mass-produced kitsch that is the main commodity of souvenir and gift shops in many tourist traps around the world...

s, the phrase is actually a federally registered trademark; the department has tried at times to enforce its trademark rights with cease and desist letters, but has had very limited success. The phrase "Don't Mess with Texas" is a frequently cited example of pride in Texas culture.

"Don’t Mess with Texas" has been awarded a plaque on the Madison Avenue Walk of Fame and a place in the Advertising Hall of Fame, a distinction given to only two slogans annually.

"Don’t Mess with Texas" is also the official motto of the Virginia-class
Virginia class submarine
The Virginia class is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines in service with the United States Navy. The submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions...

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 USS Texas
USS Texas (SSN-775)
USS Texas is a Virginia-class submarine, and the fourth ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the state of Texas....



In 1985 the Texas Department of Transportation
Texas Department of Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation is a governmental agency in the U.S. state of Texas. Its stated mission is to "work cooperatively to provide safe, effective and efficient movement of people and goods" throughout the state...

 (TXDOT) asked Mike Blair and Tim McClure of GSD&M to create a slogan for an anti-littering campaign. At the time the state of Texas spent about $20 million annually to clean litter from highways. McClure said that "bubbas in pickup trucks" who regularly littered beer cans and other items out of vehicle windows and ordinary Texans who believed that littering was a "God-given right" were targets of the advertising camapaign. McClure said that he created the slogan when he saw the garbage while walking near his house. Emanuella Grinberg of CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

 said that McClure had an "an eleventh hour "aha" moment" when, after looking at the trash, he recalled his mother telling him that his room was messy. "McClure said It occurred to me that the only time I'd heard the word litter was in reference to dogs. Mess seemed like it would resonate better."

The creators initially had difficulty convincing TXDOT to adopt the slogan. The creators said that the administrators were "buzz-cutted, conservative kind of characters." The creators joked that the board members' average age was 107. McClure recalled that "The crowd was sprinkled with 'Keep America Beautiful' and 'Keep Texas Beautiful' folks, and our audience is 18-to-24 young males." McClure added that "The 'Keep Texas Beautiful' lady said, 'Can we at least say please?' I said, 'No ma'am, you cannot use the line if you put please in front of it.'"

The campaign began in 1985 with a series of bumper stickers. In 1986 the slogan premiered its first television advertisement, featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Stephen Ray "Stevie Ray" Vaughan was an American electric blues guitarist and singer. He was the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan and frontman for Double Trouble, a band that included bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. Born in Dallas, Vaughan moved to Austin at the age of 17 and...

, at the 50th Annual Cotton Bowl Classic on January 1, 1986, singing the "Eyes of Texas" with the line "Don't Mess with Texas" added at the end of the song. Since then, numerous musicians, athletes, celebrities and other famous Texans have appeared in "Don't Mess with Texas" radio and television public service announcement
Public service announcement
A public service announcement or public service ad is a type of advertisement featured on television, radio, print or other media...

s, including:

  • Lance Armstrong
    Lance Armstrong
    Lance Edward Armstrong is an American former professional road racing cyclist who won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times, after having survived testicular cancer. He is also the founder and chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and support...

  • Asleep at the Wheel
    Asleep at the Wheel
    Asleep at the Wheel is a American country music group that was formed in Paw Paw, West Virginia, but based in Austin, Texas. Altogether, they have won nine Grammy Awards since their 1970 inception. In their career, they have released more than twenty studio albums, and have charted more than twenty...

  • Erykah Badu
    Erykah Badu
    Erica Abi Wright , better known by her stage name Erykah Badu , is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. Her work includes elements from R&B, hip hop and jazz. She is best known for her role in the rise of the neo soul sub-genre, and for her eccentric, cerebral musical...

  • Marcia Ball
    Marcia Ball
    Marcia Ball is an American blues singer and pianist, born in Orange, Texas but who grew up in Vinton, Louisiana. She was described in USA Today as "a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist.....

  • Joe "King" Carrasco
    Joe Carrasco
    Joe "King" Carrasco is a Tex-Mex "new wave" musical artist, based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. He is most widely known as part of "Joe 'King' Carrasco and the Crowns".-History:...

  • Johnny Dee
    Johnny Dee
    Johnny Dee is a fictional mutant character, in the Marvel Comics universe. He debuted in Son of M #1 .-Fictional character biography:...

     and the Rocket 88's
  • Joe Ely
    Joe Ely
    Joe Ely is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music touches on honky-tonk, Texas Country, Tex-Mex and rock and roll....

  • The Fabulous Thunderbirds
    The Fabulous Thunderbirds
    The Fabulous Thunderbirds are an American, Grammy-nominated Blues rock band, formed in 1974.-Career:After performing for several years in the Austin, Texas blues scene, the band won a recording contract with Takoma/Chrysalis Records, and later on signed with Epic Records.Their first two albums,...

  • George Foreman
    George Foreman
    George Edward Foreman is an American two-time former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Olympic gold medalist, ordained Baptist minister, author and successful entrepreneur...

  • Tish Hinojosa
    Tish Hinojosa
    Leticia Hinojosa is a folksinger recording in both Spanish and English. Hinojosa was the youngest of 13 children. Hinojosa's parents were Mexican immigrants...

  • Los Lonely Boys
    Los Lonely Boys
    Los Lonely Boys is a Chicano rock power trio from San Angelo, Texas. They play a style of music they call "Texican Rock n' Roll," combining elements of rock and roll, Texas blues, brown eyed soul, country, and Tejano....

  • Jennifer Love Hewitt
    Jennifer Love Hewitt
    Jennifer Love Hewitt is an American actress, producer, television director and former singer-songwriter. Hewitt began her acting career as a child by appearing in television commercials and the Disney Channel series Kids Incorporated...

  • Lyle Lovett
    Lyle Lovett
    Lyle Pearce Lovett is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded thirteen albums and released 21 singles to date, including his highest entry, the number 10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Cowboy Man"...

  • Billy Mays
    Billy Mays
    William Darrell "Billy" Mays, Jr. was an American television direct-response advertisement salesperson most notable for promoting OxiClean, Orange Glo, and other cleaning, home-based, and maintenance products on the Home Shopping Network, and through his company, Mays Promotions, Inc...

  • Matthew McConaughey
    Matthew McConaughey
    Matthew David McConaughey is an American actor.After a series of minor roles in the early 1990s, McConaughey gained notice for his breakout role in Dazed and Confused . He then appeared in films such as A Time to Kill, Contact, U-571, Tiptoes, Sahara, and We Are Marshall...

  • Willie Nelson
    Willie Nelson
    Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

  • Andy Pettitte
    Andy Pettitte
    Andrew Eugene Pettitte is a retired American left-handed Major League Baseball starting pitcher.In his major league career, he played for the New York Yankees from 1995–2003. He then signed with the Houston Astros, and played for them from 2004 through 2006. In 2007, Pettitte rejoined the Yankees...

  • LeAnn Rimes
    LeAnn Rimes
    LeAnn Rimes is an American country/pop singer. She is known for her rich vocals and her rise to fame as an eight-year-old champion on the original Ed McMahon version of Star Search, followed by the release of the Patsy Cline-intended single "Blue" when Rimes was only age 13, resulting in her...

  • Shamu
    Shamu (SeaWorld show)
    Shamu is the stage name given to the SeaWorld orca shows and to the "star" of those shows, beginning with the original Shamu in the late 1960s and early 1970s...

     & the Texas Tuxedos
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Stephen Ray "Stevie Ray" Vaughan was an American electric blues guitarist and singer. He was the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan and frontman for Double Trouble, a band that included bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton. Born in Dallas, Vaughan moved to Austin at the age of 17 and...

  • Jerry Jeff Walker
    Jerry Jeff Walker
    Jerry Jeff Walker is an American country music singer and songwriter. He is probably most famous for writing the song "Mr. Bojangles.-Biography:...

  • Joshua Murrell
  • Maria Rasche
  • George Strait
    George Strait
    George Harvey Strait is an American country music singer, actor, and music producer. Strait is referred to as the "King of Country," and critics call Strait a living legend. He is known for his unique style of western swing music, bar-room ballads, honky-tonk style, and fresh yet traditional...

  • Tiffany Blackgrove
  • Owen Wilson
    Owen Wilson
    Owen Cunningham Wilson is an American actor and writer, known for his roles in the films The Haunting, The Royal Tenenbaums, Zoolander, Meet the Parents, Wedding Crashers, You, Me and Dupree, Bottle Rocket, the Cars series, The Darjeeling Limited, Marley & Me, Midnight in Paris, Shanghai Noon,...

  • Chuck Norris
    Chuck Norris
    Carlos Ray "Chuck" Norris is an American martial artist and actor. After serving in the United States Air Force, he began his rise to fame as a martial artist and has since founded his own school, Chun Kuk Do...

In a 12 year period over 26 television spots appeared.

Unauthorized use of the trademark

The Department of Transportation has sent more than 20 cease and desist
Cease and desist
A cease and desist is an order or request to halt an activity and not to take it up again later or else face legal action. The recipient of the cease-and-desist may be an individual or an organization....

 letters to several organizations regarding their unauthorized use of the trademark phrase.
  • A Texas-based company in Alabama used the slogan for a billboard campaign in February 2010
  • The University of Texas at Austin agreed to stop selling t-shirts with the slogan after being contacted by the Texas Department of Transportation.
  • The department attempted to block the Texas Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League
    NARAL Pro-Choice America
    NARAL Pro-Choice America , formerly the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, then National Abortion Rights Action League, and later National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, is an organization in the United States that engages in political action to oppose...

     from the sale of "Don't Mess With Texas Women" T-shirts, but was unsuccessful.

See also

  • Gadsden flag
    Gadsden flag
    The Gadsden flag is a historical American flag with a yellow field depicting a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Positioned below the snake is the legend "DONT TREAD ON ME." The flag was designed by and is named after American general and statesman Christopher Gadsden. It was also used by the...

    , a historical U.S. flag bearing the legend "Don't Tread on Me"
  • First Navy Jack
    First Navy Jack
    The First Navy Jack is the current U.S. jack authorized by the United States Navy. The design is traditionally regarded as that of first U.S. naval jack flown in the earliest years of the republic.-History:...

    , another U.S. flag featuring "Don't Tread on Me"
  • Nemo me impune lacessit
    Nemo me impune lacessit
    Nemo me impune lacessit is the Latin motto of the Order of the Thistle and of three Scottish regiments of the British Army. The motto also appears, in conjunction with the collar of the Order of the Thistle, in later versions of the Royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland and subsequently in...

     (None provoke me unpunished), Scottish motto
  • Clean Up Australia
    Clean Up Australia
    Clean Up Australia is a not-for-profit Australian environmental conservation organisation founded by Australian Ian Kiernan, and co-founder Kim McKay, in 1989. It works to foster relationships between the community, business and government to address the environmental issues of waste, water and...

  • Clean Up the World
    Clean Up the World
    Clean Up the World is a community-based, environmental campaign that inspires and empowers communities around the globe to clean up, fix up and conserve their environment....

  • Keep America Beautiful
    Keep America Beautiful
    Keep America Beautiful is a U.S. based nonprofit organization founded in 1953. It is the largest community improvement organization in the United States, with approximately 589 affiliate organizations and more than 1,000 community organizations that participate in their programs.Keep America...

  • Keep Britain Tidy
    Keep Britain Tidy
    Keep Britain Tidy is a British campaign run by the Keep Britain Tidy environmental charity, which is part funded by the UK government. The majority of their campaigning is around the issue of litter. They have been using "Keep Britain Tidy" as their slogan for almost fifty years...

  • Take Care of Texas
    Take Care of Texas
    Take Care of Texas is a personal responsibility campaign to help Texans decrease their negative impact on the environment. This campaign is spearheaded by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality....

  • TIDY Northern Ireland
    TIDY Northern Ireland
    TIDY Northern Ireland is a non-profit environmental organisation that runs the "Keep Northern Ireland Tidy Campaign", and manages a number of local environmental quality programmes such as Blue Flag, Borough Cleanliness Survey, TIDY Communities, TIDY Business and Eco-Schools.-Overview:TIDY Northern...

Further reading

  • McClure, Tim and Spence, Roy. Don’t Mess with Texas: The Story Behind the Legend. Idea City Press, 2006.
  • Clemons, Leigh. Branding Texas: performing culture in the Lone Star State. University of Texas Press, 2000.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.