Best of 2020 No. 10: Bill Murray returns to 'Groundhog Day' role for Jeep's Super Bowl commercial

The Fiat Chrysler brand puts a new spin on the 1993 flick

Published On
Feb 02, 2020

Editor's Pick

Through New Year's Day, we'll be counting down 2020's best brand campaigns and ideas.

No. 10: Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep Super Bowl spot revisiting “Groundhog Day” with Bill Murray reprising his iconic role alongside a couple of other actors from the classic film was the delight of the Big Game. Created out of Chicago agency Highdive and directed by Jim Jenkins of O Positive, it saw Murray having a raucous good time with the groundhog, because "No day is ever the same in a Jeep Gladiator."  It delivered the surprise and entertainment audiences look for in a Super Bowl ad in an era when that goal has become increasingly difficult to achieve. Not surprisingly, it earned the top spot on USA Today's Admeter and an Emmy nomination.

Original story:

In “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray plays a character who spends most of the movie trying to escape living the same day over and over, including one scene where he drives a red Chevy truck right over a cliff. For its Super Bowl ad, Jeep puts a new twist on the 1993 flick—and it’s all about Murray having a raucous good time, groundhog in tow. 

The ad by Chicago-based Highdive seizes on the fact that Super Bowl Sunday is Groundhog Day. It was released on game day at 6 a.m. The timing is a nod to the oft-repeated scene in the movie in which Murray, playing meteorologist Phil Connors, realizes he is stuck once again in the same day.  

But in the ad, his dread quickly becomes joy. “That’s different,” he says, looking past the old Chevy and gazing at a new Jeep Gladiator (a subtle dig at the competing brand). Just like in the movie, he kidnaps the groundhog. But this time, the critter and weatherman have all kinds of fun. 

One day, Murray, playing Connors again, straps a tiny helmet on the groundhog and puts him in the front basket of a Jeep-branded electric bike. Another scene shows Connors playing whack-a-mole. “It’s not personal,” he tells the groundhog, “it’s just a game.” The spot ends with this tagline: “No day is ever the same in a Jeep Gladiator.”

Also reprising their roles from the movie are Stephen Tobolowsky, who plays nerdy insurance salesman Ned Ryerson; and Brian Doyle Murray, who again appears as the top hat-wearing Groundhog Day master of ceremonies. 

Jeep shot the ad last weekend in Woodstock, Illinois, the Chicago-area town where the 1993 movie was film. Comedy vet Jim Jenkins of O Positive directed. 

Jeep owner Fiat Chrysler, which sat out last year’s Super Bowl, was among the last brands to confirm that it bought time in this year’s game. The decision was announced in the wake of Fox’s move to add more commercial time to accommodate big-spending brands interested in snaring ad time in the game, which Fox had previously said was sold out.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Olivier Francois in a press release made public today stated that “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 added: “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.”

Jeep in the press release stated that it “worked closely with Sony Pictures to ensure authenticity with the original film.” The brand also secured the rights to “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher, the song that plays during the 6 a.m. alarm clock scene. 

Murray and Doyle Murray also did their best to recapture the vibe from the movie: According to Jeep, the two actors requested to stay at the same Holiday Inn where they stayed when they filmed the original movie.


Feb 02, 2020
Client :
Client :
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)
Agency :
Director :
Jim Jenkins
Production Company :
O Positive
Chief Marketing Officer :
Olivier Francois
Head of Marketing :
Marissa Hunter
Head of Jeep Brand Advertising :
Randy Ortiz
Co-Founder/CCO :
Chad Broude
Co-Founder/CCO :
Mark Gross
Group Creative Director :
Pat Burke
CD / Copywriter :
Casey Stern
CD / Art Director :
Jorge Pomareda
CD / Art Director :
Eduardo Vea
Junior Copywriter :
Conner Schrock
Agency Designer :
Mark Wetzel
Agency Editorial :
Andrew Maggio
Managing Partner Account and Strategy Lead :
Louis Slotkin
Managing Partner Operations Account and Strategy :
Megan Lally
Lead Account Director :
Kaley Meier
Senior Account Executive :
Lyndsay Klebba
Executive Producer :
Jen Passaniti
Producer :
Lindsay Vetter
Production Company :
O Positive
Director :
Jim Jenkins
Executive Producer :
Ralph Laucella
Executive Producer :
Marc Grill
Producer :
Ken Licata
Director of Photography :
Trent Opaloch
Editorial :
Cutters Studios
Executive Producer :
Heather Richardson
Editor :
Grant Gustafson
Assistant Editor :
David Rubin
Assistant Editor :
Jackie Cohen
Music Company :
Sonny & Cher “I Got You Babe.” courtesy of Warner Music
Movie IP :
Groundhog Day IP courtesy of Sony Pictures Consumer Products Inc
The Mill
Producer :
James Babiarz
VFX Supervisor :
Andrew Pellicer
2D Artist :
Jamin Clutcher
2D Artist :
Ryan Urban
2D Artist :
Wispy & Steven Miller
Design :
Luis Rocca
Colorist :
Oisin O'Driscoll
Audio :
Another Country
Executive Producer :
Tim Konn
Sound Engineer :
Peter Erazmus
Audio Assistant :
Logan Vines
Music Talent & IP Supervision/Licensing :
Creative License
President :
Kevin McKiernan
Vice President :
Tom Briggs
Director of Business Affairs Creative :
David Jacob esq
Groundhog :
Poppy with All Creatures Great & Small

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Project Type