A short film by Pirelli to promote the new Pirelli P Zero tire. Uma Thurman drives a yellow Lamborghini from her house and nearly hits a boy stepping in front of the car. Cut to a close-up of the enormous tires as the car stops in time to avoid putting this film into a different genre. As Thurman pulls away the boy speaks into a walkie-talkie, informing others that Thurman is on the move. Uma pulls up to a stoplight, next to a muscle car. The driver revs the engine. As she is deciding how to respond, the passenger pulls out a submachine gun and starts shooting at her. From there, the film is an extended chase scene with Thurman eventually getting hit by a bullet, briefly stopping the car and entering a bar only to find it inhabited by other flunkeys of whoever is chasing her. Finally, as things turn desperate, Thurman speeds through a construction site and narrowly avoids a shoulder fired rocket when a voice says, “Congratulations, Congratulations!” Then we see that she has been driving a simulator in a Pirelli dealership. The film ends with her reprising the beginning of the film in her real car, without the conspiracy.
The basic idea of providing branded entertainment is sound if it is executed properly. BMW Films proved this some time ago and an earlier Pirelli film “The Call” also demonstrated it. The concept works when a few elements are present:
- Brand Linkage – The branded entertainment must have a strong and rational link to the brand. Without this, strong entertainment will fail as it will not transfer equity to the brand.
- Entertainment Value – Branded Entertainment is still entertainment. It must be strong enough to compete with other forms of entertainment.
- Strong Execution – Without a good ‘wrapping’ branded entertainment will also fail. It must be surrounded with subtle but effective brand messages and ideally have some call to action.
Pirelli did a good job of promoting this video with mainstream media and PR. They gave the film a chance to succeed on its own merits.
Unfortunately, “Mission Zero” fails miserably as entertainment. Don’t blame Thurman or even the cinematographer who had no opportunity to overcome weak writing. Short form films are among the most demanding kind of visual media. They must be constructed masterfully to create meaningful characters. This film wastes the moment and demonstrates a cardinal rule of action films – without characters we can identify with, action is just background noise. Mission Zero is a great deal of noise.
Branding Bottom Line:
Mission Zero reminds us that bad film doesn’t make good advertising.