Jeep and Bill Murray Shake Things Up with a “Groundhog Day” Super Bowl Ad
For the Super Bowl, Jeep debuted a 60-second ad spot in which Bill Murray reprised his iconic role as Phil Connors from the movie “Groundhog Day” — but with a twist.
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Don’t drive angry!
The ad opens with Phil Connors waking up in the same old bed and breakfast from the film to the tune of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You, Babe.” Once he’s wandering the streets of Punxsutawney, Phil runs into some familiar faces — including Stephen Tobolowsky and Brian Doyle Murray, reprising their roles as Ned Ryerson and Buster Green, respectively. But there’s something different about the small town’s scenery — namely, a Punk’n Metallic Jeep Gladiator.
After swiping the groundhog and making a quick getaway in the Gladiator, Phil and the groundhog go for a joyride. Hijinks ensue — while Phil and his furry friend show off the Gladiator’s off-roading capabilities, removable doors, and even the brand-new Jeep e-Bike. Check out the commercial below!
I’m just glad that their joyride culminated with fireworks instead of a nosedive into a gravel pit.
The stars align
While the plot of “Groundhog Day” involves a hapless fellow forced to relive the same day, the Super Bowl only lands on Groundhog Day once in a proverbial blue moon. The dates have aligned exactly twice in the Super Bowl’s 54-year history. That’s why Olivier Francois, the Chief Marketing Officer of FCA, decided to take a chance and approach Bill Murray with his idea for a commercial.
“Magic first happened when I had the incredible luck to meet Bill in person a few years ago, and I knew then that he was perfect for Jeep,” Francois stated. “Because like Jeep, Bill is a free spirit, he intentionally seeks out ways to find adventure and live an extraordinary life.”
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Easter eggs for “Groundhog Day”
Jeep and Sony Pictures collaborated to make sure the ad was faithful to the film, down to the smallest detail. Here’s a look at just how far Jeep went to make this commercial picture perfect.
- Just like the 1993 film, the Jeep spot was filmed in quaint little Woodstock, Illinois.
- Other original locations include the bed and breakfast where Phil wakes up, the restaurant where the characters toast to world peace, and the Town Square where the Groundhog Day celebration takes place.
- To match his character’s appearance in the 1993 film, Bryan Doyle Murray shaved his facial hair for the first time in over 25 years.
- Aside from members of the original cast, the Jeep ad and the original film boast the same assistant director.
- Bill Murray and Bryan Doyle Murray requested to stay at a local Holiday Inn, just like when they were filming the original movie.
- In the original film, two DJs on the radio discuss the local Groundhog Day festivities. One of those voice actors returned for the Jeep ad, returning as a DJ who mentions both Groundhog Day and the Super Bowl.
Kimiko Kidd is a native Daytonian. She graduated from Wright State University with degrees in environmental science and sociology. She loves her trusty old Honda Civic, but dreams of owning a 1974 Ford Falcon XB with a custom paint job and a vintage Kawasaki Z1000. In her free time, Kimiko can be found watercolor-painting, baking muffins, collecting rocks, playing old-school Nintendo games, writing her novel, sewing stuffed animals, and cosplaying as her favorite Mad Max characters. See more articles by Kimiko.