Under the banner that no day’s the same in a Jeep, the ad has gone ballistic after its debut at this month’s US Super Bowl LIV. It has already been voted the best ad of the game.
The link between the movie and the Super Bowl game is the date – both on February 2. It is only the second time that the game fell on the same day in the Super Bowl’s 54-year history.
That gave Jeep management the seed of the idea.
But it didn’t happen overnight. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ chief marketing officer Olivier Francois tried for years to get Bill Murray to do the proposed ad.
In an article in USA Today, Mr Francois said that Mr Murray “doesn’t employ reps and is notoriously difficult to get hold of”.
“He doesn’t have a phone, doesn’t have an agent, doesn’t have an email,” Mr Francois said in the USA Today story.
“He allegedly has an 800 number. You leave a message and maybe he’ll call you back.”
Mr Francois called on mutual friends – he and Mr Murray once attended the same dinner party, he said in the article – to pitch the idea to the actor.
Jeep’s press release about the ad quoted Mr Murray as saying: “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.”
The ad was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, the same place as the original movie.
It also stars a real groundhog – actually a rescue animal that had its teeth removed because of a birth defect – as well as Mr Murray’s brother Brian Doyle-Murray (playing Buster) and Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned).
So is FCA Australia ready to run this on our television screens? Sadly, no.
FCA Australia director of communications Tracie Stoltenburg told GoAutoNews Premium that it was an “unlikely” showing in Australia because the licence would be “very expensive”, a shame given the Gladiator will soon be introduced to this market.
So no win for Australia but, for Jeep, it was a triumph only matched by the Super Bowl win by Kansas City Chiefs, beating San Francisco 49ers 31:20.
The ad has been the star of the Super Bowl’s coveted advertising campaigns that featured some highs and lows, including promoting Doritos, pizzas, Pringles and a worthy ad starring Bryan Cranston channelling Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ while axing a door to flog Mountain Dew soda. Secret agent 007 appeared as well.
By Neil Dowling