bill murray and groundhog
(image: Jeep)

Bill Murray Relives Groundhog Day in Super Bowl Jeep Commercial

That groundhog has aged well.
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For us non-sports fans, the Super Bowl is less about the game itself than the star-studded commercials and the halftime show. Several companies are dropping their commercials early, including Jeep, which has pulled out all the stops to promote their 2020 Jeep Gladiator. Since this year’s Super Bowl falls on Groundhog Day, Jeep is revisiting the 1993 comedy classic of the same name.

Bill Murray (in his first ever national commercial) reprises his role as Phil Connors, the cynical weatherman who finds himself trapped in a time loop while covering Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Murray experiences many of the same events from the film, from the “I’ve Got You, Babe” morning alarm to appearances from Stephen Tobolowsky’s Ned Ryerson and Brian Doyle-Murray’s Mayor Buster Green, both of whom look surprisingly the same. Sadly, there is no sign of Chris Elliot or Andie MacDowell.

As Murray relives the day, he sees something new: the orange Jeep. From then on, we see a montage of Murray stealing the Jeep and Phil and going on adventures. They go offroading, bike riding (groundhog in a tiny helmet!), play whack-a-mole, and Murray wears the groundhog in a Baby Bjorn. The commerical ends with the tagline “no day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator”.

The joke is that, instead of dreading each day, Murray wakes up delighted to go on more adventures in the Jeep alongside his furry friend. Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Office Olivier Francois reached out to Murray once he realized that this would be the first Super Bowl to take place on Groundhog Day in 54 years.

Francois said, “What is incredible here is that obviously we got Bill Murray to say yes to do it. This is totally a miracle,” he said in an interview with CNBC. “It’s the same kind of miracle having Super Bowl Sunday falling on Groundhog Day.”

Francois also said that Bill Murray improvised most of his lines, noting “He is just a free spirit. He will just do what he wants to do just in the moment. He will be adventurous.”

This isn’t the first Super Bowl commercial to feature actors reprising their roles in classic movies. In 2012, Matthew Broderick paid homage to his iconic role as Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Advertisers always hit a chord when they dial into the nostalgia of our favorite films and actors. Sure, using beloved films to sell cars is a cynical money-making ploy. But who doesn’t enjoy seeing Tobolowsky shout “Phil? Phil Connors?!” again 27 years later. I mean come on, we’re not made of stone.

What are your favorite Super Bowl commercials? Who would you like to see revisit their iconic roles and what would they be selling?

(via CNBC)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.