Jeep repurposes Super Bowl 'Groundhog Day' ad for coronavirus safety message

It is part of a larger digital campaign from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles called '#StayOffTheRoad' that also includes Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo and Fiat

Published On
Apr 10, 2020

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Jeep, a free-spirited brand known for adventures, is pushing a more cautious message during the coronavirus pandemic: Stay off the road.

In a new digital spot released Friday the brand is urging the public to stay home during the outbreak as it reminds consumers that the trails will be waiting for them when the crisis subsides. The video, “Same Day,” is part of a larger social media campaign by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that will tout responsible behavior to stop the spread of the virus and honor essential workers such as medical personnel and police officers.

FCA’s other brands will post videos on their social channels in the weeks ahead.

Jeep is confronting this serious moment with a lighthearted tone. The ad resurfaces clips from the brand's "Groundhog Day"-themed Super Bowl ad with Bill Murray reprising his role as Phil Connors from the 1993 movie. The agency behind it is Highdive. It is the first in a series of videos that will launch in the coming weeks. The brand’s other videos, which have a more inspirational, heartfelt touch, will delve into its military history and explore themes of freedom and family. 

“Same Day” plays on the monotony that comes with having to stay at home during the pandemic, which provides a natural segue into the Groundhog Day film plot in which Murray’s character relived the same day over and over.

“Everything is so much of a tragedy now,” FCA marketing chief Olivier Francois told Automotive News. “Normally, I would be very, very cautious with being humorous about the situation; there’s nothing to smile about. But, in this case, we started seeing so many posts popping up saying, ‘Staying home, it looks a little bit like ‘Groundhog Day.’ ”

Francois added later: “It’s maybe one of the only tasteful ways to use a smile to encourage people to stay home.”

The campaign has a unifying hashtag across brands, #StayAtHome, but each brand also has a unique hashtag. Jeep’s tag line is #StayOffTheRoad. Ram is touting the #WorkForHome tag for its content that will  center on health care workers, farmers and utility and delivery workers, while Dodge’s social campaign is using #TheMuscleBehindUs to celebrate first responders. Fiat is using #WeAreItaly, Chrysler has #PacificaCampOut and Alfa Romeo is going with #MorePowerfulInPark.

Brands have already posted content using the various tags.

Each brand will approach the crisis in its own way. Francois said, “We want to take advantage of the fact that we have different brands with different [tones] of voice, different stories and DNA.”

Francois said it isn’t difficult to build campaign messaging at a time such as this, when everyone is focused on the common topic of COVID-19.

“There is only one relevant thing left, which is health and inspiring people to stay safe and stay healthy,” he said. “There’s no way we can tell people go buy a car because this is really not what it’s about.”

Vince Bond Jr. is a reporter for Automotive News