Every year on the second day of February the nation turns its eyes to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. That’s where we pretend a small rodent can predict the weather. It’s one of our sillier traditions, but even if Groundhog Day is an absurd holiday, it did give us a great movie. Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray is a true classic, and this year Lay’s Potato Chips is celebrating the 1993 film with a series of time-loop commercials featuring Ned Ryerson himself, the great Stephen Tobolowsky. And they’re going to run all day on Groundhog Day.
Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort and Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmelot have partnered on a series of eight connected ads honoring Groundhog Day the movie. They’re also going to air on Groundhog Day the holiday. Again. And again. And again. Variety reports PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay has purchased one third of Disney’s available advertising slots at ABC for February 2. The commercials will also appear on Hulu.
Each iteration follows the same scenario. It’s the exact situation Bill Murray’s Phil Connors faced in the movie when he found himself stuck living the same day repeatedly. Only every time Tobolowsky walks up to the grocery store register he carries a different flavor of chips. (These are still ads for a product, after all.) His purchase elicits the same response from the cashier, played by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Artemis Pebdani.
The ads work great as a short film where Tobolowsky quickly realizes the nightmare he’s trapped in. They also have a coherent arc with a payoff. That causes him to goes through a full range of emotions, fittingly giving each encounter its own flavor. But we’re jealous we won’t be experiencing these ads the way TV viewers will. They’re just going to keep coming all day.
Will they confuse people who don’t see them in order? Will they worry they are also losing their minds or even possibly trapped in Hell? Maybe! Or they might think this is all normal on a day we check a groundhog’s shadow to learn when spring will arrive.