Former Marine is a “DieHard” in new advertising

(Kirstie Ennis)

In 2020, Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider, helped relaunch the DieHard brand with an action-packed two-minute film starring Bruce Willis (famous for his role as John McClane in the movie Die Hard) and heralding that “DieHard is back.”

The successful relaunch was followed last year by the debut of a campaign touting “Diehards Choose DieHard” which showcased the power of diehard people who choose DieHard batteries and a unique, fantastical connection between them.  

Now Advance Auto Parts, in partnership with its creative agency, Dallas-based TMA, is debuting a companion ad to the “Diehards Choose DieHard” campaign.  The new advertising tells a real-life story about a hero who epitomizes what it means to be a diehard.  The commercial stars Kirstie Ennis, a former Marine sergeant, world-renowned climber and action-sports diehard who has overcome all odds to scale six of the world’s tallest mountains. 

Titled “The Climber,” the :60 film is a mini-documentary that celebrates Kirstie’s story, highlights her endless fighting spirit, and champions her return to conquer Mt. Everest – the “seventh summit.”  

Shot in a single day in Lake Perris State Park in Riverside, California with Natural Selection Productions, the shoot faced its own logistical challenges, including a harnessed DP dangling off the side of a cliff to film the climb.  Said TMA Chief Creative Office Harris Wilkinson, “Kirstie spent a very long day—and part of the night—climbing up and down that cliff, and never once stopped smiling.  She absolutely crushed it.”


Noted Jason McDonell, Advance’s executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and eCommerce, “Kirstie is one of the most inspiring figures in society today.  We’ve witnessed first-hand how Kirstie defines what it means to be a diehard.  There is a strong correlation between her relentless drive and the hallmarks of our DieHard brand – reliability, durability, and specifically, power.”  

Added Kirstie, “Advance has been part of my journey for several years, and I admire their dedication to supporting members of the military.  My hope is that this video inspires people to accomplish their goals, even when the path is full of obstacles and challenges,” adding, “You’re damn right I’m a diehard.”

To match the epic nature of the film, Advance Auto Parts plans to run this new advertising in movie theaters next month.  It will appear before such highly anticipated releases as Ant-Man and the Wasp:  Quantumania, to be followed by Creed 3 in March.  It will also run online on YouTube, paid social media and Advance Auto Parts social media channels.  


CLIENT: Advance Auto Parts

  • EVP Merchandising, Marketing Ecommerce, Data Science – Jason McDonell
  • SVP Marketing & DIY Strategy – Allison Bubar
  • Director of Marketing – Katie Clark
  • Sr Marketing Manager – Regina Exum
  • Creative Director Corporate Brand Marketing – Heidi Flippen
  • Sr Marketing Manager – Carlos Monreal Orla


  • SVP Account Management – Lori Thelen
  • VP Account Management – Shyrl Bagneris
  • Account Supervisor – Stephanie Ibanez
  • Chief Creative Officer – Harris Wilkinson
  • SVP Creative – Leo Santos
  • Creative Director – Nick Cernoch
  • Creative Director – Mason Viera
  • Sr Producer – Matt Williams
  • Sr Manager Business Affairs – Kelly Lenthe


  • Directors: John Suits + Harris Wilkinson
  • Producer: Tim Kerigan
  • Director of Photography: Jeremiah Pitman
  • Drone Camera Operator:  Cooper Groves
  • Editor: John Suits

SOUND MIX: Timeline Audio

Mixer: Joe Barrucco

COLOR: Company 3

Colorist: Matt Osborne

VFX: Joshua Lester

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