'Don't Mess With Texas'... 20 Years Later

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Forget the Alamo. Remember Tim McClure's mom.

McClure's a founder of the Austin advertising agency GSD and M. He credits his mother's rebukes about his messy room when he was a kid for inspiring the simple, four-word slogan that's perhaps become the unofficial motto of Texas.

"Don't mess with Texas" is lauded as the most successful pitch ever for cleaning up trash from a state's highways. It's also evolved into a worldwide signature for the Lone Star State. When George W. Bush was governor, he used the slogan during his presidential campaign.

This year, it turns 20 years old. McClure and agency founding co-partner Roy Spence have collaborated on a book offering a behind-the-scenes peek at the anti-litter campaign.

"Don't mess with Texas: The Story Behind The Legend," is due out in September and includes photos and anecdotes over 85 glossy oversized pages.

More important, litter on state highways dropped by 72 percent from 1986 to 1990.