Ad Space – Even Breaking Bad’s Promos Were Awesome

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Breaking Bad’s final season

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
We won’t tell you what’s gonna happen, but doesn’t it feel portentous as all heck?

I’m not gonna go into a deep analysis of this commercial.

I could. It certainly merits such analysis, especially as it reflects the themes of the TV show it’s advertising. But that feels like it would turn into an analysis of Breaking Bad in general, and I simply do not have time for that right now.

Instead, I just want to marvel at the fact that this commercial even exists. This is a television trailer that contains no footage from the show it’s advertising. It tells you nothing about the plot of upcoming episodes. It features no appearances by any cast members of the show, except in voiceover. And that voiceover is neither them playing their character nor them doing a sales pitch for the show. Instead, they’re reading a 19th Century poem that has only a loose, thematic connection to the series, while shots of various sets and props from the show flash by on screen.

It flies in the face of every convention of TV promos, and risks seeming overly avante garde and pretentious … except that it’s a promo for Breaking Bad. A show that walked the line between artsy drama and pulpy thriller so expertly, you had legions of fans thrilling to the adventures of Walter White getting a pizza off the roof, or to random flashforwards of destroyed toys sitting around a pool.

If you were onboard for Breaking Bad Season 5, then this promo is no less than what you’d come to expect from the show.