by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
While Sunday may be reserved for the National Football League’s Championship game for some of you out there, it is also Groundhog Day. You know, the whole six more weeks of winter—or maybe not—thing.
Well, regardless if you believe in the weather forecasting ability of a rodent, it appears Fiat Chrysler Automobiles believes in the power of a movie called Groundhog Day. So much so it has created a 60-second commercial to air during the game based off the movie.
FCA confirmed in a release that the spot would run during Sunday’s game, but did not announce when it would air over the course of the contest. Additionally, it had no information on the commercial itself, stating “The Jeep brand does not comment on the details of on-going video productions—its own, or that of outside partners—that may feature any of its Jeep vehicles.”
However, it appears the automaker is reusing the movie’s original town as a backdrop for the commercial, and is also having stars Bill Murray, his brother Brian Doyle-Murray and Stephen Tobolowsky reprise their original roles.
A photo on the William Murray Golf Instagram page, which is a company Murry founded along with his brothers, shows off Bill Murray on the Woodstock, Illinois, set dressed up as weatherman Phil Connor, his character from the movie.
The photo was accompanied with a post that read:
"Phil Connor and Ned Ryerson reunite in Woodstock's town square for a Jeep commercial, which the article states, could run for (Sunday’s game, which conveniently runs on Groundhog Day). No update on Needlenose's ability to recreate the whistling bellybutton trick."
Groundhog Day was a 1993 film directed by Harold Ramis and many consider it to be one of Bill Murray's top performances. The movie focuses on a television weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again when he goes on location to Punxsutawney, Pennnsylvania to film a report about the town’s annual Groundhog Day celebration.
The motion picture became a box office success, grossing about $70 million, but really only seemed to find classic status once it exited the theater.
The show's concept allows a lot of creative flexibility for FCA in determining the new commercial’s direction, but one theory is the automaker will use the time to introduce its new plug-in hybrid electric Wrangler that first displayed earlier this month at the Las Vegas Consumers Electronics Showcase.
Murray could potentially utilize the vehicle as a way to break out of the time ‘loop’ that traditional gasoline-powered vehicles make him relive. It also appears the movie's awkward conversation between Bill Murray and Tobolowsky will somehow be involved.
This year’s ad marks a return to The Big Game for FCA, as it stayed out of the commercial race during last year championship contest—instead releasing its series of advertisements through various digital platforms the week prior, including one depicting a 1963 Gladiator truck getting crushed before re-emerging as the new Jeep Gladiator truck.
In previous years, FCA has used the NFL Championship game to focus attention on its new Wrangler JL launch, by tying it with Jurassic Park’s famous dinosaur chase, as well another that showed the vehicle fording through water before climbing a rock ledge.
Sunday’s NFL championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers begins at 6:30 p.m. EST.
A spot this year in Sunday's game will cost $5.6 million for 30 seconds of ad time, according to Ad Age.
And by the way, according to statistics kept by the Pennsylvania Groundhog Club, Punxsutawney Phil has called for 103 winter forecasts and 17 spring ones over the past 120 years. But his accuracy is way below even the worst NFL quarterback, at about 39 percent. So don't fret if Sunday's call is for another six weeks of winter.