Many folks are amused at the evolution of the meaning of the famous “Don’t mess with Texas” slogan. It first emerged in 1986 as an anti-litter campaign, but today you’ll find those words on the back of many a Ford F150 and other similarly gigantic trucks. So what’s the deal? Is it a chest-thumping message, a sincere expression of eco-consciousness, or both? Whatever it is, it’s a very celebrated slogan:
Don’t Mess with Texas” was honored today as America’s favorite slogan with a parade down New York City’s Madison Avenue and ending in Times Square. The Texas Department of Transportation’s “Don’t Mess with Texas” litter prevention slogan won Advertising Week’s 2006 Walk of Fame contest. “Don’t Mess with Texas” beat out 25 other well-known slogans including “JUST DO IT.” by Nike, the California Milk Processors Board’s “Got Milk?” and “Have it your way” by Burger King. TxDOT’s slogan won in a landslide, with more than 400,000 votes.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.