Bruce Willis will star in one of the most expensive ads ever made, for British finance client Aviva (which recently changed its name from Norwich Union). The TV commercial cost $13.4 million, or Â£9 million, and is by AMV BBDO, according to the Sun, a London tabloid.
In the ad, Willis and Elle Macpherson are shown -- via computer trickery -- alongside their younger selves. Willis is shown next to himself in Die Hard (pictured), and Elle watches herself in a swimsuit shoot from her early years. Also starring in the ad are Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries), rocker Alice Cooper, and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr.
The theme linking the cameos is name-changing. All of the stars in the ad changed their original names before they became famous (Bruce Willis was born Walter Willis, for instance).
BNET's take: Advertisers frequently talk about the value of their brands, but changing the name of your company is either a tacit admittance that your brand has no value or a massive strategic error. Norwich Union is one of the oldest, largest and most-trusted insurance and finance brands in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1797. "Aviva," as this Google search shows, is already the name of a swimming pool toy company, a diabetes blood sugar checker, a family services agency, and many other second-rate brands. By ditching 300 years of equity, Norwich Union's name change thus falls under the "strategic error" category. And an expensive one at that.