Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Learn to Master the Hairy, Beastly, POORLY DESIGNED S.U.V.

How poorly designed are SUVs?

Consider this public service advert, aimed at young males who now can afford a used -- "pre-owned" in auto dealer parlance -- monster truck.

Because of their poor handling characteristics -- much longer braking distances, unstable emergency manuevers, high center of gravity, and roll over tendencies -- they have a rasther disconcerting habit of, um, killing the people who drive them.

Before suggesting that a little cleaning of the gene pool might be constructive  --  its true that SUVs have terrible stats for "one vehicle fatalities," i.e., people killing themselves without any other driver plowing into them -- there are the other unfortunate SUV stats. These vehicles disproportionately take other innocent drivers with them as they careen down the statistical highways.

Solution:   Encourage young males to achieve a "mastery" of their vehicles, ala Star Wars:


Here's the NYT take on it:

SPORT utility vehicles are beastly, or at least beastlike. 

That is the message of a new public service campaign from the governments of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The $27 million campaign, paid for with settlement money from a lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company, starts this week and is aimed at informing young men in particular about the rollover risks of sport utility vehicles. 

This latest dent to the aura of the S.U.V. stars "Esuvee," who looks like a cross between the Star Wars characters Chewbacca and Jabba the Hutt, with headlights for eyes and a grille for a nose. Esuvee - pronounced "S.U.V." - also rides like a bucking bull. 

In a 60-second commercial that is part of the campaign and will appear before movies in theaters, young men mount Esuvee, "buckling in" to the back of the hairy beast in a sort of mock bull riding championship. A gate opens and they hang on for the ride. As the first rider vaults out of control, the camera settles on a seasoned rider offering ringside advice. 

A creative (if somewhat cynical) solution to a ridiculous problem . . .   

The S.U.V. Is a Beast, and It's Hairy, Too
Danny Hakim
NYT, February 2, 2005 

Posted at 06:54 AM in Design, Media | Permalink


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