Editor's pick: Originally published Jan. 4.
The spot, released Monday, reiterates the Republican frontrunner's campaign pledges to enact a temporary shutdown of Muslim immigration to the United States "until we can figure out what's going on," to "quickly cut the head off ISIS and take their oil" and stop illegal immigration by building a wall "that Mexico will pay for." It also features darkened, ominous images of the San Bernardino shooters, what appear to be military bombings, and shadowy images sprinting across the U.S. border.
It closes with Trump's stump slogan: "We will make America great again."
"I could see this easily being on a bad episode of 'The Blacklist' or 'NCIS,'" said Benjamin Bates, associate professor of communication studies at Ohio University and expert in election advertising and messaging.
Or perhaps a parody on "Saturday Night Live."
In early 2015, the show raised eyebrows with a spoof of a car ad in which a father drops his daughter off at the airport. In the original advertisement, the young woman is joining the military. In the SNL parody, the daughter, played by "50 Shades of Grey" star Dakota Johnson, is joining ISIS. "It's just ISIS," she tells her father before hopping into the back of a truck. One of her fellow up-and-coming terrorists says, "Death to America," as they drive away in a truck donned with a flag that reads, "I love cats."
In 2010, SNL aired a spot mocking GOP fears and jokingly sponsored by the Republican National Committee. The parody advertises a new mosque at Ground Zero as a venue for gay weddings, free naturalizations and abortions. "It could happen," the ad warns.
A 2001 sketch features Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George W. Bush listing off the warning signs that someone might be a terrorist, and a 1986 spot has former cast member Victoria Jackson going to Central Park to find terrorists on the playground.
Those sketches, of course, take a more light-hearted angle on terrorism, immigration and fear-mongering than the Trump ad has. Still, like the Trump ad, SNL writes its political parodies on the nose.
"Donald Trump is not known for his subtlety, whether you go to the casino or the hotel or his political speech, he's not going to be a subtle guy," said Bates. "And so what he's putting out in that black and white grainy news footage up there, that he's darkened the faces of the Islamic terrorists and the Mexican terrorists, he's going extremely direct, there's no subtlety whatsoever, and that's Trump."
One thing Trump isn't subtle about is presuming that he's the Republican nominee. The ad addresses his Democratic rivals (President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee), but not his GOP opponents in the primary.
"It doesn't touch on that task on all. It doesn't say why you should vote for him over [Marco] Rubio or [Ted] Cruz or anybody else," said Justin Holmes, assistant professor of political science at the University of Northern Iowa. "To that end, it's a little bit of a funny ad."
Unlike with SNL, it's hard to tell who the joke is on.