The ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ Campaign Actually Had a Huge Positive Impact on the Lone Star State

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The Texas Department of Transportation is celebrating the 30th birthday of its greatest campaign ever, “Don’t Mess With Texas”. Here’s how it has impacted littering.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve featured a few of our favorite Texans participating in TxDOT’s famous anti-littering campaign. Because it turns 30 this year, The Dallas Morning News dug into the statistics to see how well the campaign has actually worked across Texas.

The campaign was created in 1986 to help combat highway littering, which was getting out of hand across the state. The TxDOT “conducted a study of visible trash [in 2009 and] the state calculated that there were about 435 million pieces of litter – or more aptly, mess – on Texas highways.”

The campaign has had a resurgence lately, with YouTube videos surfacing of blooper reels and the like. By 2013, there was 34 percent less trash on roadways since the 2009 survey.

Interestingly, the campaign has earned the state revenue more than it has prevented littering. That one little phrase, “Don’t Mess With Texas”, has copyrights linked back to the TXDoT, which has earned over “$143,000 in royalties since 2004,” making it a modest source of revenue.

The popularity of the phrase has even turned into a mega-advertising campaign that the TXDoT could have never paid for themselves. So remember, every time you buy something with that beloved phrase on it, you’re supporting the Texas Department of Transportation.