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George Strait Stars in New Don’t Mess with Texas TV Spot

April 30, 2010

PSA premieres Saturday May 1 at San Antonio Alamodome

AUSTIN, Texas — Movie stars, music legends, and world-class athletes have done it. Now — a king.

“King of Country” George Strait is starring in a new public service announcement (PSA) for the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) iconic Don’t Mess with Texas campaign. Over the years, Don’t Mess with Texas has featured 26 celebrities in its PSA campaigns. The spot begins airing statewide May 10, 2010, and can be seen anytime at www.DontMessWithTexas.org.

The spot will premiere Saturday, May 1, at the San Antonio Alamodome during the final concert of Strait’s spring tour. Another Don’t Mess with Texas celebrity, Lee Ann Womack, is performing during the same show. Womack was featured in the 2006 PSA celebrating the campaign’s 20th anniversary.

The PSA will be launched along with new research about Texans who are most likely to litter.

“Ironically, some of the most prideful Texans are also some of the worst litterers, according to new research,” said TxDOT Travel Information Division Director Doris Howdeshell. “If you love Texas so much, why in the world would you throw trash on it? When George Strait reminds people ‘Don’t Mess with Texas means don’t litter,’ we think they’ll listen. After all, he epitomizes Texas pride.”

There’s a long, impressive list of Texans who’ve helped spread the litter prevention message over the past 24 years, from Willie Nelson and Lance Armstrong to Matthew McConaughey and Chamillionaire. Just two weeks ago, Strait became the first artist in history to break Billboard magazine’s top 10 chart for 30 consecutive years when his song “I Gotta Get to You” hit number 9.

The Strait Story

he new Don’t Mess with Texas PSA tells a story written just for Strait’s style. The spot shows a fast-talking Hollywood-style producer pitching TV commercial props. Strait, who volunteered his time for the shoot, dismisses a bedazzled, gawdy Don’t Mess with Texas jacket, bright red Don’t Mess with Texas boots, and a miniature horse with a Don’t Mess with Texas sparkling blanket. In the end, the King of Country stands up, throws the script into a familiar red, white, and blue trash can and simply says, “I’ve got this. Don’t Mess with Texas means don’t litter.”

New Research

Every two years, TxDOT commissions a Litter Attitudes and Behaviors survey to learn more about who is littering and why. It also tests possible litter prevention messages and methods. Stadia Market Research surveyed 1,255 Texans about their lifestyles and attitudes toward the environment, litter, and related laws. Based on the answers, researchers divided Texans into five distinct groups — two of which admit to littering regularly:

  • “Proud Texans” (24 percent of Texans) say they are filled with state pride and believe roadside litter makes Texans look bad. They tend to believe environmental issues are blown out of proportion. Ironically, research indicates more “Proud Texans” admit to littering more than those in other groups. “Proud Texans” are also less likely to identify others who litter.
  • “Fun-Loving Anti-Establishment” people (13 percent of Texans) are thrill seekers who think having fun is the whole point of life. This group represents those with the highest percentage (55 percent) of litterers, who think unintended littering is okay and who do not see the benefits of or need to teach children about litter prevention. They don’t care if others litter.

“While age tends to be the number-one indicator of who will litter, the new research shows another group of litterers — the ‘Proud Texans’ — has emerged, and we need to send them a message,” said Howdeshell. “We hope they will heed the message Strait delivers.”

About Don’t Mess with Texas

The late blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan appeared in the first Don’t Mess with Texas PSA in 1986. The campaign was conceived by TxDOT to keep down skyrocketing litter pickup costs and has since become a part of pop culture. In 2006, Don’t Mess with Texas was voted “America’s Favorite Slogan,” beating out JUST DO IT, Got Milk?, and Have it your way.

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, and a corporate partner program. For more information, visit www.dontmesswithtexas.org. TxDOT’s goals are to reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic opportunity, improve air quality and increase the value of transportation assets. For more information, visit www.txdot.gov.

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