In 2019, insurance company Liberty Mutual launched a new ad campaign. The commercials featured LiMu Emu and Doug, a “fictional dynamic duo who are passionate about saving people from overpaying for one-size-fits-all insurance,” according to a press release from the company. So, who is the actor behind the character Doug?
Where You’ve Seen David Hoffman Before
The ads are based on 70s buddy cop shows, with retro cars and props, along with a 70s outfit and mustache for Doug. The costume might hide his identity, but eagle-eyed TV viewers recognize him from his long list of credits.
Actor David Hoffman has been featured in many commercials and TV shows over the years. He was classically trained as an actor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and Boston University.
After college, he headed to Los Angeles, training with famed comedy group The Groundlings. Hoffman was asked to join the Sunday Company in 2006 and the Main Company in 2008. Around the same time, he started appearing in commercials. The brands who hired him include Bud Light, Doritos, V8, and Slim Jims.
Hoffman also scored guest roles in TV shows like 2 Broke Girls, Modern Family, Bones, and Castle. In 2014, he was cast as the lead in UK sitcom I Live with Models. He also appeared in the blockbuster film Bridesmaids.
He Created The Character’s Signature Look
His role as Doug in the Liberty Mutual ads might be his most popular to date, making him a well-known face in the ad world — but maybe not in real life. Speaking to the New York Post about his newfound fame, Hoffman said, “Never once have I been recognized out on the street as Doug. He looks like a character I’ve never played before.”
Hoffman is actually the one who came up with Doug’s distinctive look. After getting a brief description from the insurance company about the ad campaign, “I disappeared and came back and had the realistic mustache and a Members Only jacket and said, ‘This is the guy,’” Hoffman said. “There was no physical description of [Doug]. The role didn’t call for a mustache; I just decided he should have a mustache.”
Hoffman Dishes On His Emu Co-Star
When asked about his animal co-star, Hoffman shared that there are actually three emus that feature in the ads. “One who specializes in standing still, one who runs .. .we kind of change them out. We used them more on the very first shoot, but 90 percent of the time I’m by myself looking at a piece of tape [subbing for Limu]. They bring the emus out afterward and do an amazing job in post-production with CGI.”
“They’re large and when they stick their necks up all the way they’re taller than me — like a dinosaur with talons,” Hoffman continued. “They’re kind of intimidating, but at least, with me, they’re pretty gentle. At the first shoot one of them jumped up on a desk in a standing leap and got in my face, but I have no issues with wild animals. I’ve worked with children who are more difficult.”
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