Hollywood

Meet Poppy, the groundhog rescue that starred in Jeep's Super Bowl ad

Photo courtesy of FCA USA LLC

Poppy shot to fame starring in this year's Super Bowl commercial for the Jeep Gladiator with "Groundhog Day" actor Bill Murray as her sidekick. The 10-month old groundhog is more than just a celebrity starring in a commercial during the big game.

When a birth defect prevented her from living a full life in the wild, Poppy was rescued after being found end of a residence's driveway. She lives with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Pennsylvania, which is also the home of Punxsutawney Phil and the setting (though not the filming location) for the cult classic movie "Groundhog Day".

Poppy groundhog Jeep Gladiator Groundhog Day commercial 2020 The commercial co-stars veteran actor Bill Murray.Photo courtesy of FCA USA LLC

The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is to return animals to the wild. However, as Poppy grew, it was determined by a team of veterinarians that Poppy suffers from a birth defect called Malocclusion. This defect prevents her from receiving sustinence via foraging in the manner of the typical groundhog because she cannot use her sharp incisors to eat or cut wood to build a den.

With that diagnosis, Poppy's care team had to decide between three different options: 1) euthanize her, 2) humanely extract her teeth or 3) submit her to continual painful dental procedures throughout her life, which was not in her best interest from a humane standpoint.

Because Poppy was otherwise strong and capable, the care team decided to humanely extract her teeth and use her as an educational ambassador for wildlife in the state.

The scenes of the commercial involving the groundhog were filmed using a real groundhog, stuffed animal groundhog, and an animatronic groundhog. Some CGI techniques were used in post-production.

Poppy groundhog Jeep Gladiator Groundhog Day commercial 2020 Poppy split starring duties with stuffed and animatronic groundhogs. Photo courtesy of FCA USA LLC

While filming the Jeep commercial, Poppy was under the constant care, supervision, and oversight of her handler/caretaker. Between takes she didn't go to her trailer and talk to her agent. Instead she ate banana chips and nestled on her caretaker's shoulders.

When Poppy isn't starring in commercials, she works as a state- and USDA-licensed educational animal.

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The Grand Cherokee L features a third-row seat for the first time.

Jeep

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of the longest running and most off-road capable SUVs on the market today. But for buyers needing to haul more than a few people, the Grand Cherokee wasn't the roomiest choice. To remedy that problem, Jeep created the Grand Cherokee L, a three-row version of the popular SUV that will go on sale in 2021. Today, Jeep announced pricing for the new stretched Grand Cherokee.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Pricing starts under $40,000.Jeep


The Grand Cherokee L is the first three-row SUV to wear the nameplate, and will land in 2021 with a starting price tag that comes in under $40,000. The SUV will include four trims: Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit. The base Laredo trim will start at $36,995, the mid-range Limited trim at $43,995, and the range-topping Overland trim at $52,995.

The base powertrain for Grand Cherokee L models involves a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 257 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive is available. As in previous models, the Grand Cherokee L will be available with a V8. Here, it produces 357 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L Higher trim levels can be quite plush.Jeep


Even the base Laredo trim gets a fairly generous list of standard features that include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, LED exterior lighting, an 8.4-inch-inch infotainment display, a 10.25-inch frameless digital gauge cluster, and Uconnect 5. Top trims get upscale features like ventilated seats, navigation, a dual-pane sunroof, an electronic limited slip differential, and more.

The new Uconnect 5 infotainment system enables advanced capabilities, such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Grand Cherokee L will also be offered with a head-up display system, a digital rearview mirror, and a 950-watt McIntosh audio system.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L The Grand Cherokee L should bring better cargo space with seats folded down.Jeep


The three-row Grand Cherokee L beats its two-row counterpart to market. While the L is expected soon, Jeep says the standard Grand Cherokee and an electrified 4xe version are scheduled to debut later in 2021.

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Twelth-grader Vincent Piaskowski took top honors in the Stellantis competition.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis
Stellantis, formerly known in the U.S. as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has just wrapped its annual Drive for Design contest and has crowned three impressive winners. The contest gives high school students an opportunity to win prizes, meet influential member of Stellantis' vehicle design teams, and spend time at the College for Creative Studies.
  • First Place: Vincent Piaskowski, 12th grade from Michigan
  • Second Place: Rocco Morales, 10th grade from Michigan
  • Third Place: Alex Wang, 12th grade from California

Second place winner Tenth-grader Rocco Morales won second place.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The winners submissions were impressive, but the prizes they won are pretty cool, too. First place took home a Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16, a Virtual Day of Design that includes a one-on-one portfolio review with Stellantis design leaders Ralph Gilles and Mark Trostle, and a scholarship for a four-week virtual summer program at the College for Creative Studies. Earning a second- or third-place price wasn't so bad, either. Those two got an Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, a visit with Head of Ram Truck and Mopar Design, Mark Trostle, and the same four-week scholarship.

Before they could claim a prize, artists' submissions were scrutinized in four key areas, each evenly weighted in judging. Craftsmanship, design quality, illustration, and originality were all scored to find the winner. Looking at the top three entries, it's clear that the choice before the judges was a tough one.

Third place winner Twelth-grader Alex Wang took home third place.Photo courtesy of Stellantis

The winning submission was a concept called the Jeep Grand Teton. It's accompanied in the sketches by its own reconnaissance drone, and doesn't look all that far-fetched, as far as concept vehicles go. The second-place submission is called the Jeep Crazy Horse. It's quite a bit more "out there," and features a sliding battery unit to improve vehicle balance off road. Third place, while futuristic, looks to be a throwback to the vintage Jeep Forward Control pickups of decades past. Named the Adversary, the concept features solar cells, tent storage, and a unique cabover design.

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