It’s been seven years since Bruce Willis last hit the big screen as Detective John McClane, star of the Die Hard franchise. And for a fleeting moment on Sunday, NFL fans – or anyone casually scanning social media posts – likely thought the action star was ready to return for another episode.
But sadly, a trailer released on Sunday for a new Die Hard film was actually an ad for DieHard Batteries and parent company Advance Auto Parts.
In the 2-minute version of the ad, die-hard McLane tries to replace his car battery when he crosses path with the vicious Theo, a hacker who worked with terrorist Hans Gruber (RIP Alan Rickman) in the original Die Hard in 1988 . After that, the detective’s night quickly turns explosive.
The spot debuted during Fox’s first commercial break during Sunday’s NFL game Green Bay-Tampa Bay and quickly became a topic of interest online.
Before the ad was published, she was teased (without revealing branding) about paid placements on the social feeds of Willis’ eldest daughters, Rumer, Scout and Tallulah.
The teaser was also expanded on Twitter by comedy group The Lonely Island.
“DieHard Is Back” was created by The Marketing Arm agency, known for its prominent marketing concepts, including Pepsi Max’s “Uncle Drew”.
“I’ve never advertised the John McClane character before, but Advance Auto Parts came up with the idea of incorporating DieHard’s battery into the ‘Die Hard’ story through a short film that is authentic to McClane and both brands” said Willis in a statement accompanying the ad. “Advance approached it like a movie – the script is clever, the production intense, and the spot entertaining.”
While the cluttered audio of the ad and the slightly incoherent storytelling make this a little difficult to follow, the production value and Easter eggs are enough to keep die-hard Die Hard fans happy, and everyone else will only be happy when Willis gets grumpy again fighting crime.
In addition to actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., who repeats his role as Theo, the spot also shows the return of another character from the original film: limo driver Argyle, played by De’voreaux White.
In a nod to the 1988 Die Hard action in which Argyle rams Theo’s getaway car (a stolen ambulance), the ad shows Argyle’s limo being rammed by Theo’s thugs. In a much more obvious clue, Willis’ character has to climb through an air duct to escape the Advance Auto Parts Store unsupervised by criminals.
“The DieHard brand is known for its reliability, durability and performance – traits that John McClane found in the Die Hard films,” said Jason McDonell, Advance Auto Parts evp and CMO. “The opportunity to bring the two together in creative and bold ways to inform, entertain and mobilize motorists was irresistible.”
The spot, which is divided into 15- and 30-second versions, will anchor a multi-channel campaign #DieHardIsBack throughout October. During this time, US motorists begin to change their batteries before the winter weather sets in.
CUSTOMER: Advance Auto Parts – DieHard Batteries
Managing Director: Tom Greco
EPP & CMO: Jason McDonell
SVP & General Manager, Diehard: Allison Bubar
VP, Marketing: Wendy Blume
Sr. Director, Public Relations: Darryl Carr
Sr. Marketing Manager, Marketing: Regina Exum
Sr. Creative Manager, Marketing: Heidi Flippen
Creative agency: the marketing arm
Managing Director: Andrew Robinson
President: Trina Roffino
EVP, Creative: Will Clarke
SVP, creative: Leo Santos
SVP, Creative: Harris Wilkinson
Sr. Creative Director / Art Director: Rob Neatherlin
Sr. Director, Concept: Stu Hill
Associate Director, Concept / Copywriter: Nick Cernoch
Creative Director: Steve Hinckle
Associate Creative Director: Shelly Williams
Sr. Art Director: Ida Brown
Sr. Copywriter: David Fox
Art Director: Zach Phillips
SVP, account: Lori Thelen
Director, Account: Shyrl Bagneris
Sr. Account Executive, Account: Stephanie Ibanez
EPP, strategy: Kathleen Colditz
VP, Strategy: Chris Lee
Strategist: Stephen Bellinger
Vice President, Production: Diana Schroeder
Sr. Producer: Matt Williams
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