US state attorneys general on Monday announced a $US27 million ad campaign to coax SUV owners to drive safely and to convince them they are not invulnerable when they get behind the wheel one of the big vehicles.

According to the Associated Press, the campaign, funded through a settlement with Ford, is targeted at men 18 to 34, a group of drivers who are involved in a disproportionate number of SUV rollover accidents.

The campaign reportedly features a monster named Esuvee that resembles a woolly mammoth with headlights. In one 30-second spot, men ride the beast as they would a bucking bronco. A narrator says: "Anybody can ride an Esuvee, but not everybody rides it right."

The campaign is the result of a 2002 nationwide settlement with Ford, AP said, noting that the states accused Ford of running deceptive ads promoting the safety of SUVs.

Susan Ferguson, senior vice president of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, reportedly questioned whether the ads would produce the desired effect.

"There's been a ton of research to suggest that people don't change their behaviour just through education," Ferguson told the Associated Press. "Just exhorting people to do the right thing does not have the effect of changing their behaviour."

AP said that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures show that in 2002 there were 2,448 deaths and 58,000 injuries from SUV rollover crashes in the United States.

The study reportedly found that 67% of adults involved in fatal SUV rollovers were men and 61% of fatal SUV rollovers involved people 20 to 39 years old.