Take the grill, headlights and taillights off an

Take the grill, headlights and taillights off an SUV and put them on the body of a furry creature that’s part buffalo, part gorilla, with elephant-like feet, and you’ve got “Esuvee,” the animated character in a campaign breaking today by New York’s Bartle Bogle Hegarty to promote safe SUV driving. Two men ride Esuvee like a bull in an indoor rodeo in a TV spot. Esuvee, created in post by Frame Store in London, was designed to look “imposing” but “obviously still feel kind of cool,” says art director John Hobbs, who developed the character with copywriter Peter Rosch. Esuvee also appears in print ads resembling the Chilton’s auto service manual, in outdoor ads and on a Web site. The estimated $20 million campaign is funded by a settlement of a federal lawsuit that accused Ford Motor Co. of misleading consumers about SUV safety.

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