‘Yippee Ki Yay’ Willis is back with DieHard… batteries

(John McClane is back in DieHard… a new campaign for the battery)

This Reel Ad of the Week is the bomb. Literally. On Sunday, DieHard brand batteries delivered big time. For the first time, Advance Auto Parts, Inc. brought together DieHard the battery and Die Hard the motion picture in a 2-minute film in which Hollywood legend Bruce Willis reprises his role of explosive Detective John McClane.

The spot, created by Dallas Omnicom agency The Marketing Arm, which debuted during FOX’s “America’s Game of the Week” telecast of Green Bay vs. Tampa Bay, continues the storylines of McClane and two other characters from the original 1988 Die Hard film: villain Theo, reprised by Clarence Gilyard Jr., and limo driver Argyle, played by De’voreaux White.

The new film begins with McClane and a dead car battery. Before he can make it to Advance Auto Parts, McClane crosses paths with old foe Theo and his crew. After a narrow escape and a chance meeting with limo driver Argyle, the action accelerates.

From bad guy takedowns to a giant earth mover chase and, of course, a massive explosion, the film merges the worlds of the action classic “Die Hard” and the battery, showing viewers that McClane and DieHard are equally reliable, durable and powerful.

“I’ve never done any sort of commercial with the John McClane character, but Advance Auto Parts brought an idea to integrate DieHard the battery into the ‘Die Hard’ story through a short film that’s authentic to McClane and both brands,” said Willis. “Advance approached this like a motion picture – the script is clever, the production intense and the spot is entertaining. This is what ‘Die Hard’ fans expect. I think they will dig the DieHard –‘Die Hard’ mashup.” Watch the 2:00 minute spot directed by Natural Selections’ John Suits below:

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“I always have a lot of fun playing John McClane and I really enjoyed how Advance Auto Parts brought in De’voreaux and Clarence from the original film,” Willis added. “I give Advance a lot of credit for digging into the film to cleverly insert DieHard the battery and giving fans a new, entertaining storyline.”

Jason McDonell, Advance Auto Parts Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, said there’s a natural tie-in between DieHard batteries and John McClane.

“The DieHard brand is known for its reliability, durability and power – qualities of John McClane in the Die Hard films,” said McDonell. “The opportunity to bring the two together in a creative and bold way to inform, entertain and mobilize motorists was irresistible. Our approach to this project was to go beyond products and price points and focus on finding a powerful message and platform to differentiate the brand. We’ll continue looking for those ‘Yippee Ki Yay’ moments that are memorable and celebratory at the same time.”

The film is part of Advance’s integrated #DieHardIsBack marketing campaign that kicks off during October’s National Car Care Month. Following the film’s national debut, Advance will air 30- and 15-second versions of the spot – in both English and Spanish – nationally and in key local markets.

The spot will be incorporated into the company’s social media on Facebook and Instagram in the U.S. and Canada, as well as digitally on YouTube in the U.S. to drive views of the full-length version on Advance’s YouTube page – YouTube.com/AdvanceAutoParts.

There also is a significant in-store element to the campaign. The film and campaign were created by The Marketing Arm, a Dallas-based creative agency partner for Advance Auto Parts.

“Cold weather is coming. We know motorists will begin to encounter battery failure. We want them to know that the only automotive aftermarket stores where they can get the most reliable, durable and powerful battery – DieHard – are at Advance Auto Parts and Carquest stores,” McDonell said.

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The tongue in cheek campaign is great. The big question we have is – what took so long for this?


CLIENT:  Advance Auto Parts – DieHard Batteries

  • CEO: Tom Greco
  • EVP & CMO: Jason McDonell
  • SVP & General Manager, Diehard: Allison Bubar
  • VP, Marketing: Wendy Blume
  • Director, Public Relations: Darryl Carr
  • Sr. Marketing Manager, Marketing: Regina Exum
  • Sr. Creative Manager, Marketing: Heidi Flippen

CREATIVE AGENCY:  The Marketing Arm

  • CEO: 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, Concepting: Stu Hill
  • Associate Director, Concepting/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
  • EVP, Strategy: Kathleen Colditz
  • VP, Strategy: Chris Lee
  • Strategist: Stephen Bellinger
  • Vice President, Production: Diana Schroeder
  • Sr. Producer: Matt Williams


  • Executive Producers: Amanda Mortimer, Nicole Flores
  • Director: John Suits
  • Director of Photography: Will Stone
  • Production Designer: David Dean Ebert
  • Costume Designer: Anthony Tran
  • Casting: Bobby Stephenson – 5th Street Studios
  • Make Up: Hugo Villasenor
  • Hair: D’nelle Almanza
  • Editors: John Suits, Adam Grabarnick
  • VFX: VFX Producer: David Brown; VFX Supervisor: Matt Von Brock – Ghost VFX
  • Graphics: Howard Shur, Rik Michul, Adam Petke – Flawless Post
  • VO: Ashton Smith (KMR Talent)



SOURCE: Advance Auto Parts, Inc.

Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at colin@reel360.com or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1