I’m not sure how I can get this in as book news, since it’s about the movie, but whatever, it’s my site, and today I am not my fucking khakis:
…a new Nike TV advert featuring Edward Norton, the lead in the book’s film adaptation, could have ol’ Chuck choking on his cornflakes. Featuring a sweaty urban jogger pounding through a cityscape, the ad sees Norton providing an internal narrative eerily reminiscent of Palahniuk’s own. In fact, eerily reminiscent is an understatement. Norton laconically drawls in the exact same intonation as his film role, "I obey the voice in my head, measuring myself in meters, kilometers and finally, character. I’ve plugged into a higher purpose". Shot in an identical hue to the Hollywood adaptation and even featuring a soundtrack imitating the Dust Brothers’ original score, it could easily be mistaken for a discarded outtake.
The campaign’s underlying message, that going for a brief run is akin to a dangerous counter-cultural statement, is ridiculous. The tagline, "I am addicted", seems to imply that leaping into a lycra bodysuit and running around the block makes one a member of a subversive underground movement, a sort of sleeper cell of exercise cults that the world is just not yet ready for. Of course, most sportswear and men’s perfume adverts are annoying precisely for this sort of delusional smugness. If you amalgamated every Nike/Hugo Boss/Gillette creation into a sort of 21st-century aspirational übermensch, the resulting individual would be so irritating he couldn’t walk into a Hare Krishna commune without being brained by a prayer-bell-wielding devotee. But when viewed against Fight Club’s position on consumerism and body image it becomes slightly more twisted, akin to the Turkish tourism board using a Midnight Express pastiche to advertise a fortnight in Ankara.
Whether Palahniuk has seen the advert himself remains unknown but the fact his style, and that of Fight Club director David Fincher, has seeped into the public consciousness enough to inspire a major advertising campaign only serves to demonstrate their influence. One just can’t help but wonder if the screaming irony was lost on the advertising executives responsible for commissioning it.