- Advance Auto Parts released a two-minute short film wherein Bruce Willis returns to his famous role as John McClane from the "Die Hard" franchise, according to a press release. The cinematic effort promotes the automotive after parts retailer's recent addition of the DieHard line of car batteries to its lineup.
- In the hero short, which debuted around Fox's "America's Game of the Week" football program, McClane's car breaks down, sending the detective on a high-wire journey to find a replacement battery. On the way, he encounters his old rival, Theo — a role reprised by Clarence Gilyard Jr. — as well as an ally in limo driver Argyle, played again by De'voreaux White.
- Developed with ad agency The Marketing Arm, the campaign includes 30- and 15-second cuts of the film that will air on national and local TV, YouTube and social media integrations and a "significant" in-store element. Putting an actor back into a famous role has recently paid out for other brands, including Jeep.
Rolling out for National Car Care Month, Advance Auto Parts' #DieHardisBack campaign pulls out all the stops in faithfully recreating a beloved action-movie franchise. As the coronavirus pandemic limits new film releases and scuttles the fall TV season, the high-gloss effort could prove particularly appealing to consumers who are starved for entertainment or nostalgic for pop culture of less chaotic times.
The campaign leans hard into preference for the original "Die Hard" from 1988, intending to pick up where the long-running series' first entry — viewed by many critics as one of the best American action movies ever — left off. Advance Auto Parts' ads include characters that never made an appearance in ensuing installments, including the beleaguered limo driver Argyle, again portrayed by White. Early social media response suggests consumers are receptive to this approach, as many do not have a sunny view of the later "Die Hard" sequels. Some internet commenters have actually said Advance Auto Parts' ad surpasses them in quality, according to The Independent.
In the short film, Willis is put through the typical McClane ringer, crashing through windows and crawling through vents as he attempts to secure a DieHard car battery and jumpstart his old vehicle with the help of Argyle. Other staples of the franchise — such as Willis' "Yippee-Ki-Yay" line, high-speed car chases and big explosions — round out the blockbuster-scale advertisement.
The campaign has been shared by several celebrities and high-profile accounts, including Willis' daughter, Rumer, and the farcical music group The Lonely Island. The latter's tweet, labeled with the #ad tag — possibly jokingly — pushes for Willis to appear on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," a comedy cop show that stars member Andy Samberg.
Continued positive traction and online buzz could give Advance Auto Parts a boost at a time when more consumers are buying and refurbishing used cars and ahead of the key fourth quarter and holiday sales period. The brand dipping into an old Hollywood film mirrors other campaigns that have recently taken the internet by storm.
For its Super Bowl campaign, Jeep tapped Bill Murray — who had, to that point, never appeared in a national advertisement before — to reprise his role from "Groundhog Day." Like Advance Auto Parts' ads, Jeep's included a number of the touchstones from the 1993 comedy, as its main character Phil Connors relives the same day over and over, but is now happy with being in small-town limbo thanks to his new Jeep. The big game push scored the automaker tens of millions of online views and some of the highest marks for any brand advertising around Super Bowl LIV.