Bill Murray's First Ever Appearance in an Ad Is a Groundhog Day Revival
Super Bowl LIV fell on Groundhog Day, a tradition observed in North America around the estimated arrival of spring. The superstition goes that if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on 2nd February and sees its shadow due due to clear weather, it'll turn straight back around to the protection of its den for six more weeks. If it doesn't see any shadow, it's believed that spring will arrive early.
Just one brand decided to jump on the fact that the Super Bowl took place on the day of the phenomenon, and it did so in spectacular fashion. The 60-second spot for Jeep, created by Chicago agency Highdive, uses the Bill Murray 1993 film Groundhog Day as its inspiration.
The brand has left no stone un-turned in bringing the narrative back to life. As well as deft direction from the ever-consistent Jim Jenkins of O Positive, the spot's strength lies in the fact that so many of the film's original characters feature. Brian Doyle-Murray, the elder brother of Bill, and Stephen Tobolowsky both reprised their original roles. Bill Murray's appearance marked his first ever appearance in an ad.
“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 of FCA. “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.”
The tie-in with Jeep is that his getaway vehicle is a particularly luscious Jeep Gladiator. The spot also features the brand's new e-bike which is going to be released in the summer.
“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," Olivier added. "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.”
The film was shot in Woodstock, Illinois, which is where the original movie was filmed. Locations in the spot are reportedly the original bed-and-breakfast where Bill's character Phil Connors wakes up each day, the Town Square where the Groundhog Day festival takes place, and the restaurant where Phil Connors toasts to 'world peace' in the original movie.
“This is my first commercial. I’m glad I did it with you (Jeep),” said Bill. “And I’m glad that this is my last commercial, as well.”
Featured Companies: O Positive
Director: Jim Jenkins
EPs: Ralph Laucella, Marc Grill
Producers: Marc Grill, Ken Licata
DP: Trent Opaloch
Editorial Company: Cutters
Editor: Grant Gustafson
Assistant Editors: David Rubin, Jackie Cohen
Executive Producer: Heather Richardson
Final Mix Company: Another Country
Audio Mixer: Peter Erazmus
Audio Assistant: Logan Vines
Producer: Louise Rider
Executive Producer: Tim Konn
Category: Automotive , Cars
Genre: Comedy , Dialogue , People , Storytelling