Saturday, October 7, 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.