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Bill Murray's Super Bowl 2020 Groundhog Day Commercial Kept Him From 'Driving Angry'

They say timing is everything. That is, of course, unless you are Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." In the endless time loop of "Groundhog Day," time has lost all meaning, and Murray's Phil Connors is trapped in snowy Pennsylvania for eternity, soundtracked by Sonny & Cher. The "Groundhog Day" premise has become a genre unto itself, and projects like "Palm Springs" and "Russian Doll" have proudly worn the influence on their sleeves to great success.

If there's anyone who doesn't look back fondly at the 1993 Harold Ramis classic, it is arguably Murray himself. Murray reportedly hated "Groundhog Day," owing to coinciding personal problems and creative differences with Ramis. This, coupled with Murray's notoriously cagey reputation when it comes to selecting projects, made his involvement in a 2020 Super Bowl ad from Jeep all the more surprising. For the commercial, Murray reprised the role of Phil Connors and went on a joyride with Phil the groundhog.

Jeep capitalized on an overlap between the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day

The use of fictional characters in commercials has exploded in recent years, with everyone from Bruce Willis to Christopher Lloyd revisiting past roles in the name of shilling car batteries and fried chicken. The Super Bowl is the, uh, Super Bowl of advertising, and in 2020, Bill Murray lent his talents to Jeep and recreated an iconic "Groundhog Day" scene for the big game.

In the film, Phil hijacks a truck with the all-important groundhog inside and hightails it out of Punxsutawney to drive off a cliff. In the one-minute, 45-second ad, however, a shiny Jeep Gladiator gives Phil a new zest for life. In fact, he eagerly pops out of bed every morning to go on joyrides with his quadruped friend. This time, he doesn't warn the groundhog about the perils of driving angry, as all anger and tedium has been zapped from his body, thanks to his new Jeep. "There ain't no mountain we can't climb," the actor sings along to "I Got You Babe," before ad-libbing, "In four-wheel drive!"

The ad was the brainchild of Fiat Chrysler Chief Marketing Officer Oliver Francois, who noticed that the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day were slated to sync up for the first time in 54 years (via CNBC). He passed along a pleading letter to Murray via a mutual friend, and the ad ended up being the top-rated Super Bowl commercial in USA Today's Ad Meter competition.