This Super Bowl Sunday is also Groundhog Day, and that was apparently too good of a marketing opportunity to pass up for Jeep. To pay homage to one of the most iconic pop culture moments associated with the obscure holiday, the car company enlisted the help of none other than Bill Murray himself. And he seemed happy to to recreate scenes from his legendary Groundhog Day film in a brilliant ad.
Groundhog Day came out almost 30 years ago -- but it’s become so deeply ingrained in our pop culture that its most iconic moments are easily accessible to anyone who’s seen or even heard of the movie. Jeep’s commercial assumes that we all know the story, but just in case you don’t: A cocky, grumpy weatherman named Phil Connors travels to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to report on the annual groundhog event, which is pretty much his personal idea of hell. He then gets stuck in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over until he figures out how to get over himself and embrace the good that life has to offer.
The Jeep commercial begins with that unforgettable alarm clock blaring Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” Bill Murray, as Phil, is understandably devastated to be back in the time loop. At first, the commercial is entirely reminiscent of Phil’s repeated day from the film. He runs into a still overly eager Ned Ryerson, and then encounters Punxsutawney’s mayor and his beloved groundhog.
But things take a turn when Phil notices a brand new Jeep Gladiator parked nearby, which makes him stop and remark, “That’s different.” He steals the groundhog and uses the vehicle as a getaway car, injecting some newfound excitement into the monotony of his existence. From that point on, when Phil wakes up, he’s gleeful and ready to get out of bed, because it means he has time for more joyrides.
Though Phil retains his nihilistic view of the world, he seems to be having a little bit more fun. He takes his new best friend the groundhog off-roading with both the top and the doors off, and when he encounters a lumberjack who tells him he’s going to freeze to death, Phil cheerfully responds, “Who cares? See you tomorrow!” And he and the legendary rodent have some new adventures, when he takes it on a snowy bike ride, and then to an arcade for a game of whack-a-mole. The commercial ends with Phil and the groundhog sitting in the back of the Jeep watching a fireworks display, saying, “Not a bad day, huh?” Talk about a change of heart.
It’s a delightful commercial. And it will likely still be funny even to those who haven’t seen Groundhog Day, if only because there’s something hilarious about watching Bill Murray giggle and sing while holding a groundhog. Amidst a plethora of other star-studded Super Bowl commercials, it’s certain to stand out from the pack.
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