Advance Auto Parts has tapped Bruce Willis to recharge DieHard, the 53-year-old car battery brand it acquired from Sears last year. In an ad that broke today, the actor reprises his role as detective John McClane from “Die Hard,” the action film franchise that began in 1988.
A two-minute version of the ad—which debuted during Fox’s National Football League coverage—was filmed like a Hollywood production, with plenty of references to the movies.
Willis, playing McClane, encounters his old foe Theo (played by the original actor Clarence Gilyard Jr.) after his car battery dies, then hurls himself through the glass window of an Advance Auto Parts store, grabs a DieHard and escapes through a ventilation duct. De’voreaux White reprises his role as Argyle the limo driver, assisting McClane. And yes, the ad steals the famous Yippee Ki Yay line, except this time Argyle says it (without the ensuing F-bomb).
The ad, handled by The Marketing Arm, carries the earmarks of a costly Super Bowl production, complete with teasers. The brand seeded a short clip with Willis’s children, who tweeted it out on Saturday. The teasers did not carry any branding, amounting to a head fake that made it appear as though a new sequel was in the works, using the phrase #DieHardisback.”