Bill Murray Revisits “Groundhog Day” in New Jeep Gladiator Commercial – And We Love It

By Steve & Tamami Laser

We never thought we’d see Bill Murray starring in a commercial for Jeep®. Today is Groundhog Day, and of course, it’s Super Bowl Sunday (and to top it off, it’s also 02/02/2020).

In an amazing feat of brand marketing, Jeep recruited Murray to reprise his role from the 1993 film “Groundhog Day.” You know, the movie where he plays Phil Connors, a weatherman, who gets trapped in a “time warp” when he visits Punxsutawny, Penn., to cover Groundhog Day.

Jeep’s new TV spot was made on location in Woodstock, Ill., using the same town as the film. Connors wakes up in the same bed-and-breakfast when the alarm clock goes off at 6:00 am, and “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher begins playing on the radio. Everything looks the same, except, perhaps, for Connors, who is now 27 years older.

Buster Green (Brian Doyle Murray) and Ned Ryerson (Stephen Tobolowsky) also stage a return in the commercial, and yes, they’re 27 years older, too.

Yet something is different – the “getaway” vehicle that Connors employs after snatching the groundhog is not an old truck – it’s the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator. And so, as they once said in another famous movie, this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

“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, FCA chief marketing officer. “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.”

According to Jeep, Poppy, the cute groundhog that appears in the commercial, is now 10 months old. She was rescued at four weeks with a birth defect that prevented her from returning to the wild. Her caretaker is a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Penn., and Poppy is a state- and USDA-licensed educational animal.

While Connors keeps reliving his day in the commercial, now, he springs out of bed, happy as a lark, seeking adventure in the Jeep Gladiator.

What could be a better time for the automaker to also promote its new Jeep e-Bike, powered by QuietKat, prior to its rollout this summer? And, there’s also a custom collection of merchandise offered by Jeep inspired by the commercial.

Here are some additional fun facts for the Groundhog Day spot:

  • Jeep credits its partnership with Highdive, a Chicago-based ad agency, for the commercial.
  • Bill Murray and Brian Doyle Murray requested to stay in the same Holiday Inn where they stayed when the original movie was filmed.
  • Brian Doyle Murray shaved for the first time in more than 25 years prior to appearing in the commercial.
  • A crew member, first assistant director on the Jeep commercial, was the second assistant director in the original Groundhog Day movie.

For more information on the Gladiator visit

News source and photos courtesy of Jeep and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA US LLC)

Story (intro and commentary) © 2020