Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, and Earth

The most popular Super Bowl ad shows us why we are destroying ourselves.

Posted Feb 03, 2020

Perhaps the most noted Super Bowl ad is built around Bill Murray and his role in the classic 1993 film, Groundhog Day. According to USA Today;

NFL back with another "juggernaut" ad for Super Bowl LIV

Jeep, Bill Murray win USA TODAY's Ad Meter with hilarious "Groundhog Day" commercial

You remember the film, in which the arrogant and self-absorbed Murray wakes up each day to the same reality, which he ignores until it finally breaks through his consciousness and he becomes a better person.

In the Jeep ad, he wakes up each morning to face a dismal reality by jumping into a massive pick-up truck and driving around aimlessly, alone, in a pristine snowy environment, “interacting” with wildlife (i.e., uses as a prop) for his own enjoyment. Yes, he is the epitome of arrogance and self-absorption.

Only that's not the point of the ad. The point of the ad is for you and others to be and act as selfishly and immorally as Murray’s character.

The ad (it is 60 seconds; a 30-second ad cost $5.6 million) wants you to drive around as you wish, creating a giant carbon footprint without concern for your impact on the planet.

This isn’t the place to recap the growing alarm by scientists and concerned human beings around climate change (typical headline: “Climate Change Is Accelerating, Bringing World ‘Dangerously Close’ to Irreversible Change”) — you’re anxious and depressed enough whenever you think about it.

In particular, according to The Lancet, “Young individuals with depression and anxiety might be at a disproportionately increased risk for worsening symptoms in the face of changing climate.”

Think of Greta Thunberg, traveling the world raising awareness about the future faced by her and the world’s youth. Despite being mocked by the President of the United States and others for her all-too-justified feelings (Trump tweeted, "Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!") has had a tremendous impact.

But her impact is a microbe compared with a Super Bowl spot, which was instantly accessed by more than 100 million people and is now being recirculated around the media.

I haven’t noted a single comment about the meaning and impact of the Murray-Jeep ad, even though the unmitigated resurgence of heavy-duty personal vehicles as the urgency of rising gas prices recedes has become a major source of environmental alarm.

But we shouldn’t worry about all of this negativity as we enjoy the major national celebration that unites us as Americans.