Ad Space – Let’s Talk About Fight Club

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:
Fight Club the motion picture

The Promotions: (mildly NSFW)

The Pitch:
… but please, do not actually hit Edward Norton as hard as you can.

Fight Club was always gonna be a hard movie to sell. If you’ve seen the flick, you know what I mean.

Describing the plot of the movie is tough, since it can seem kind of absurd or kind of banal if you just say what happens. Plus it’s gotta a couple big twists that you’re not gonna want to spoil, but are what really make the latter half of the movie.

Then there’s the tone of the thing. The labels “crime thriller”, “dark comedy”, and “psychological drama” are all applicable, but each on its own probably conveys an idea of what to expect that doesn’t quite match Fight Club‘s oddball sensibilities.

But, y’know, I think this series of ads did a remarkably good job of giving you the feel of what Fight Club is. They tell you almost nothing about the plot or the characters, contain no dialogue from the movie (at least, not as it was originally spoken), and never play any footage of the movie for more than two continuous seconds.

What they do do (heh, doodoo) is express the themes the movie is going to be dealing with, while the discordant visuals and music (including artificially scratch-ified film) brilliantly convey the vibe and style of the picture.

Though, while I say these ads were quite good, they were not, apparently, successful: Fight Club was still a bomb when it came out, only acquiring a cult following later. But given these were Internet ads from the 1990’s, it’s not like they got seen by a lot of people anyway.