When Advance Auto Components acquired the DieHard battery brand from Sears holding firm Transformco final December, the auto components retailer knew it needed to reintroduce the model to customers with an enormous inventive marketing campaign.

And whereas there have been a number of choices on the desk for the way to try this, the nominal connection to the beloved Die Laborious film franchise appeared too good to go up, based on creatives at The Advertising and marketing Arm. Working alongside manufacturing firm Pure Choice, TMA pulled collectively 4 completely different actors from the unique 1988 Die Laborious film—together with Bruce Willis, after all—to create a two-minute, standalone short film that matches into the canon seamlessly. They usually did the whole factor throughout a pandemic.

Going into this marketing campaign, Advance Auto Components chief advertising officer Jason McDonell had three objectives. First, to create one thing thrilling with broad buyer enchantment; second, to match the boldness of the model itself; and third, to finish up with one thing that made him “uncomfortable.”

By asking for one thing outdoors of his consolation zone, McDonell defined that he needed to “push the envelope” of normal advertising for the class. He inspired his staff and their companions at TMA to make one thing that was greater and extra inventive than you’d anticipate for a battery model.

“After they offered us with ideas, this one simply excited me to no finish,” McDonell mentioned. Whereas he admitted that his pleasure was partly as a consequence of his love for the Die Hard movie franchise, he was most intrigued by the way in which it related John McClane’s character to the primary attributes of the DieHard model: reliability, sturdiness and energy.

“We’re all form of Die Laborious geeks, as you could or could not have guessed,” mentioned TMA svp of inventive Harris Wilkinson. Simply due to the identify of the model, creatives inside TMA had lengthy talked about leveraging the battery’s connection to the Die Laborious movies for an advert marketing campaign.

For a marketing campaign launching this fall, the theme lastly made sense. Advance Auto Components was in search of a technique to reintroduce the model to customers with an enormous, splashy assertion following its acquisition, and October is the time of 12 months the corporate refers to as its Super Bowl. Because the climate begins to chill down heading into winter, that’s when people are battening down the hatches and ensuring their automobiles have what it takes to get by way of the chillier months. These first few frosts are additionally when outdated automobile batteries are inclined to kick the bucket.

“The alignment of an motion film and a extremely iconic, everyman hero with their model, for his or her target market, actually is sensible,” mentioned Wilkinson.

As soon as the Die Laborious idea was given a inexperienced gentle, TMA needed to make sure that it stayed true to the franchise, invoking the spirit and really feel of the flicks with out parodying the style or characters.

“It was so natural for the consumer,” Wilkinson mentioned. “They may have genuine branding, however in a extremely humorous approach. We didn’t should shoehorn something in. … It actually was a part of the story, which I believe is a part of the magic.”

As soon as TMA had locked within the expertise for the undertaking—which included Willis as John McClane, Clarence Gilyard as Hans Gruber’s hacker affiliate Theo, De’voreaux White as limo driver Argyle and Joey Plewa as henchman Alexander—they nonetheless had to determine find out how to safely shoot the movie amid the rising risk of Covid-19.