Alice Cooper And Ringo Star Appear In $13.4 Million TV Commercial


December 22, 2008

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 £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.

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