If you’re a fan of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, you’re going to love the new US television commercial for the new Jeep Gladiator.
As a reminder, Groundhog Day is a comedy that stars Bill Murray as Phil Connors, a TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day festivities, is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day. The movie with co-stars Andie MacDowell and Chris Elliott and has become a cult classic.
As Groundhog Day is celebrated every year on February 2nd , and this years NFL Super Bowl was also on February 2nd , the first time this has occurred in 54 years, Chrysler Jeeps marketing department thought it would be a good idea to acknowledge the fact with a Groundhog Day based television commercial featuring Bill Murray.
Unfortunately they underestimated how hard it was to get Bill Murray to feature in a commercial. Apparently he’s very particular about the roles he takes, doesn’t appear in ads nor endorses products, reportedly doesn’t have an agent and gives out a 1-800 number to people looking to contact him for roles.
Having approached Murray many months before the Super Bowl with the idea and having received no reply, Chrysler Jeep decided not to take a spot on the biggest commercial night of the year. That was, until a surprise call from Murray on January 17th , only two weeks before the game, who for whatever reason agreed to be
So the 60-second commercial was created and filmed over three days from January 24th to 26th in Woodstock, Illinois, where the movie was filmed. Chrysler Jeep negotiated with Fox to fit the ad in during the game. It also got the rights and licensing to recreate the movie and use the song “I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher, the song that Murray woke up to each day in the movie.
The ad features the same locations as the movie as well as appearances by Murray’s brother, Brian Doyle-Murray, who played the city of Punxsutawney’s mayor, and Stephen Tobolowsky as “Needlenose Ned” Ryerson.
Apparently much of the ad was unscripted and Murray in collaboration with his brother Brian, formulated the ideas and lines. It was an amazing achievement in a very short period of time to produce a commercial that received more than 23 million You Tube views in just 24 hours.
Following shooting of the commercial, Bill Murray said, “This is my first commercial. I’m glad I did it with you (Jeep), and I’m glad that this is my last commercial, as well.”
Here is the Bill Murray commercial:
Unfortunately you wont see the Bill Murray commercial on Australian screens as licensing fees etc made it somewhat prohibitive, but the Gladiator is now on sale and if you want to know more about the car, here’s Matt Brogans article on Carsales.