Bill Murray has found himself in the same dilemma as he did in 1993: he keeps reliving the same day over and over again! The seasoned actor and comedian has reprised his role as Phil Connors in the 1993 film, Groundhog Day, which sees Murray’s character waking up on the same day, every day. The blast from the past took place in a Fiat Chrysler Super Bowl ad for the Jeep Gladiator pickup, and aired on Sunday morning, the same day as, of course, the Super Bowl, and the real Groundhog Day this year. In the commercial, Bill as Phil has to endure the same day over and over, but ultimately learns to enjoy his fate thanks to his Jeep Gladiator.
Replacing the classic Chevrolet C-10 pickup that served as Phil’s getaway car in the original film, the Gladiator takes Bill and his new groundhog pet on a new adventure every day, from biking and snow drifting to playing whack-a-mole, which, Bill as Phil tells the groundhog, is “just a game.” The slogan for the ad, “No day is the same in a Jeep Gladiator,” is a play on the movie’s original poster that said, “He’s having the day of his life…over and over again.”
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Olivier Francois, head of Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Office, reached out to Bill back in October upon realizing that the Super Bowl would fall on Groundhog Day in 2020 for the first time in 54 years. “What is incredible here is that obviously we got Bill Murray to say yes to do it. This is totally a miracle,” he said, noting that it was “crucial” that Bill sign on for the ad. “It’s the same kind of miracle having Super Bowl Sunday falling on Groundhog Day.” They wanted to make the ad as close to the original film as possible, down to the last detail. The ad was shot at the same location as the film (Woodstock, Illinois), and features appearances by Bill’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, who played the city of Punxsutawney’s mayor, and Stephen Tobolowsky as “Needlenose Ned” Ryerson. The ad also was released at 6 a.m., the same time that Phil woke up everyday in the movie.
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According to Olivier, much of the commercial was unscripted, Bill using his famous improv skills for much of the comedic effect. “He is just a free spirit. He will just do what he wants to do just in the moment. He will be adventurous,” said Olivier about Bill.” It’s in perfect alignment with Jeep’s DNA. And like Jeep, he is a global American cultural icon.”