By Brant Bingamon
I used to sit in my daddy's pickup and throw trash on the highway because he said it kept people employed." Roy Spence is beginning his story of "Don't Mess With Texas," the marketing campaign that made the company he co-founded, GSD&M, a legend in the advertising community.
It's a story he's told a thousand times before, but that doesn't make it any less fun. His voice is round and syrupy and low. "'Littering is going up every year 20 percent,' [former Governor] Mark White told me, and the Texas Highway Commission had seen the 'Give a hoot, don't pollute' campaign and the crying Indian and they put the review up to four or five agencies. Including the ones who did those. My partner, Tim McClure, the genius – the pitch was three days away, we had nothing – he was walking down the highway and he looked down and he said, 'This isn't litter, this is just a mess.' And he wrote the line: 'Don't Mess With Texas.'"