The Backstory Behind Jeep’s “Groundhog Day” Commercial
The 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.)
Locations featured in the commercial include the original bed-and-breakfast hotel where Bill Murray’s character PhilConnors 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.
“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)!”