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The back story behind Jeep’s Groundhog Day commercial

The Backstory Behind Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” Commercial

The back story behind Jeep’s Groundhog Day commercialThe last kick of the Super Bowl 54 may be history but there’s a part of the TV sports spectacular that just keeps on repeating time and again months later.

And that is truly in keeping with the 
theme of Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” commercial, which reprises movie star Bill Murray’s role in the 1993 movie of the same name in which he repeats the same day over and again.

Thousands are taking another look online at this imaginative 60-second video, voted the best Super Bowl commercial broadcast that day. Amazingly, the Big Game and Groundhog Day fell on the same day for only the second time in the Super Bowl’s 54-year history. Fate determined this commercially had to be created.

Murray, playing Phil Connors, is joined by his older brother Brian Doyle-Murray (Buster Green) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson) also filling their original film roles.  It was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, the same location as the original movie. (A longer-form video can be found on Jeep’s digital and social channels.)

The back story behind Jeep’s Groundhog Day commercialLocations featured in the commercial include the original bed-and-breakfast hotel where Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors wakes up every morning; the Town Square where the Groundhog Day Festival takes place in the original movie; and the restaurant in Woodstock where Bill Murray’s character toasts to “world peace” in the original movie. 

The commercial puts a twist on the original script by featuring the 2020 Jeep Gladiator as Phil Connors’ “getaway vehicle” after taking the groundhog, thus, significantly altering his days for the better.  

The spot opens as the clock turns 6:00 a.m. “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher starts playing, replicating the scene from the film. Connors suddenly sits upright in bed. 

Twenty-seven years later, he’s stuck in Punxsutawney once again. The Jeep brand worked closely with Sony Pictures to ensure authenticity with the original film, now available to buy on disc and digital. 

“In my wildest dreams, any advertiser’s dream, really, could you dare to believe that Bill Murray would agree to be in your Super Bowl commercial, and on top of that, ask him to relive his iconic role in ‘Groundhog Day’?,” said Olivier Francois, Chief Marketing Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. 

The back story behind Jeep’s Groundhog Day commercial“How do you even have that make sense and not be forced? - 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. Because like Jeep, Bill is a free spirit, he intentionally seeks out ways to find adventure and live an extraordinary life.” 

Francois continued: “When we learned that Groundhog Day fell on Super Bowl Sunday for the second time in 54 years, we couldn’t help but take that chance. The stars magically aligned. Bill agreed to do the first national broadcast commercial in which he’s ever appeared, and not only that, relive his role as Phil Connors for our Jeep Gladiator. But this time, in our spot, the hero makes a different choice by choosing a different pick-up truck – the Jeep Gladiator – and it changes everything for him.” 

Bill Murray adds: “This is my first commercial. I’m glad I did it with you (Jeep)!”


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1997 plymouth pronto eyes on auto

Dreaming of a Production Edition of a Long Lost Concept

By Keith Morgan

Wild speculation about which popular Euro models might appear in North America after the pending merger of FCA (Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles) with the French-based PSA Groupe (Peugeot-Citroën) has been rife since last year’s announcement.

FCA could certainly benefit from some of the PSA small car 
lineup, though most, if not all, would be rebadges of Euro editions. Most of the forecasts are doubtless the fantasies of my fellow auto journalists but it’s good harmless fun.

Personally, I’d like to make a suggestion that doesn’t have a chance of happening because my vehicle of choice is not made 
anymore. - In the last century, I owned a green Citroën 2CV-6,  a “deux chevaux" (French for two horses). Don’t let the V-6 label fool you, there was no three-litre engine under its hood. It hid a 600cc, air-cooled 29 horsepower, four-cylinder engine, matched to a 4-speed manual transmission. The gears were selected by a weird handle that pulled in out from the dash, and tilted to change gear.

The roof rolled right back like a sardine can and turned it into a convertible. It was fabulous fun to drive in the UK summers of my younger years. You can see the odd one on this side of the Atlantic but not at a price yours truly can afford.

Citroen 2CV6 production edition of a long lost conceptSo,
instead, I’d settle for the 1997 Plymouth Pronto concept that never got built. It had a cool looking composite plastic body, with molded in colour. The engine was to be the Rover/Chrysler 1.6 litre putting out 115 hp at 5,600 rpm (113 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm), connected to a five-speed manual. Like the future PT Cruiser, the Pronto had a tall architecture, which allowed for a spacious interior and high seating position; it had the roll-back fabric roof that resembled the 2CV and stand-alone bumpers.

As I mentioned, Chrysler went for a heavier and less attractive, PT Cruiser. If you squinted and screwed up your eyes when looking at the Cruiser, it kind of resembled the Pronto - at least in my vivid imagination.



keith morgan's autooddspot for eyes on autoAs the late, great baseball catcher and coach Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra once said: “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

eyes on auto's keith morgan with drivesucrazy

DrivesUCrazy - City Drivers

DrivesUCrazy with Keith Morgan

Some of the driving habits witnessed on today’s roads DriveUCrazy!

One pet hate for many city drivers is how the overly cautious just roll their front wheels into the intersection and stop anybody else turning left during the green light phase. It’s selfish and creates great frustration for those trying to contend with ever busier streets.

What DrivesUCrazy? - Type "DrivesUCrazy" in the subject line and email a description of your pet hate.