Don’t mess with Texas: Social marketing magic

Social marketing is marketing for the common good. It employs all the regular marketing principles that Nike and anybody with a decent advertising budget uses to sell their products.

An important thing to keep in mind about influencing behavior: about 85% of people are group oriented. They constitute the norm, and often you can engage their motivation to be part of the group, to influence them to do, or not do, something.

Don’t mess with Texas

The slogan “Don’t mess with Texas” was originally cooked up by Tim McClure of creative firm GSD&M; for the Texas Department of Transportation to prevent litter. Through research it was determined that the younger good ol’ boys were the most egregious tossers of butts and beer cans. Bubba was the target market. Don’t mess with Texas was created to speak to them.

This little slogan engaged that big Texas pride.

Now twenty years later, litter has declined over 70%. It’s a registered trademark of the TxDOT and generates some serious revenue through licensing the use of the slogan to hundreds of vendors for tshirts, hats…

Last year, with almost half a million votes, “Don’t mess with Texas” beat out “Got Milk” and “Just Do It” as the nation’s favorite advertising slogan, in a contest sponsored by Advertising Week 2006.

McClure and his partner at GSD&M;, Roy Spence, just published Don’t Mess With Texas: The Story Behind the Legend. The authors look back on the origins of the campaign, the controversies, the close calls and how art and science combined to accomplish the most successful anti-litter campaign in American history.

Gaia Graphics & Associates… creative by nature ~