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Voters to Pick All-Time Favorite Don’t Mess with Texas TV Spot as Campaign Celebrates 25 Years

January 04, 2011

(AUSTIN, Texas)—Who will it be? Willie or Little Joe y La Familia? What about George Strait, LeAnn Rimes, Matthew McConaughey, or Shamu?

These are some of the tough choices facing Texans as they vote for their all-time favorite iconic Don’t Mess with Texas TV spot.

The Celebrity Face-Off celebrates 25 years of Don’t Mess with Texas delivering its litter prevention message. The late blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan appeared in the first Don’t Mess with Texas ad in 1986. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) launched the campaign to keep down rising litter pickup costs. In 1986, TxDOT spent $2.33 per person for litter pickup, and the agency now spends $1.90 each year per person. Don’t Mess with Texas has become a part of pop culture. In 2006, voters named Don’t Mess with Texas “America’s Favorite Slogan,” beating out JUST DO IT, Got Milk?, and Have it your way in Advertising Week’s Walk of Fame contest.

Starting January 4, 2011, you can go to to vote on your favorite ad using the Celebrity Face-Off random TV spot generator. Watch two spots, and instantly vote on whether you prefer The Fabulous Thunderbirds singing, “Don’t you mess with Texas,” or George Foreman preaching to litterers. Or the random spot generator may pit Lance Armstrong against former Dallas Cowboys’ Randy White and Ed “Too Tall” Jones. Vote as many times as you want. It’s up to you to keep your pick in the running for favorite ad of the past 25 years.

After two weeks of voting, half of the TV spots will be eliminated based on number of votes. One week later, the field will narrow to eight. That’s when matchups are no longer random, and the voters’ chosen Don’t Mess with Texas ads will compete in a tournament-style bracket.

On February 8, 2011, the Celebrity Face-Off finalists will go head-to-head for two weeks of voting, after which the all-time, best-loved Don’t Mess with Texas TV spot will be named favorite. Voters’ favorite ad will air on TV all year as the Texas Department of Transportation celebrates its 25th anniversary.

“Over the last quarter century, some of the best-known Texans have volunteered for Don’t Mess with Texas to encourage people not to litter,” said TxDOT Travel Information Division Director Doris Howdeshell. “Some of the memorable ads don’t even feature celebrities and have also helped reduce litter.”

TxDOT’s most recent research shows roadway litter in Texas is down 11 percent since 2001 despite Texas’ population and road growth. The research also shows eight out of 10 Texans know “Don’t Mess with Texas” means “don’t litter.”

About Don’t Mess with Texas

Don’t Mess with Texas has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. TxDOT’s litter prevention program includes Adopt-a-Highway and a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful. Don’t Mess with Texas activities also include a spring “Trash-Off”, community outreach, a scholarship, a corporate partner program, and a photo album where Texans can share their iconic Texas images. For more information, visit Don’t Mess with Texas is a registered trademark of the Texas Department of Transportation. TxDOT’s goals are to prepare for the future, enhance safety, maintain the transportation system, relieve congestion, enhance connectivity, and work with partners to identify funding strategies. For more information, visit Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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