Hollywood Ads, meet Ghost Metro Stations

We live in a world surrounded by advertising. However, we don't often see advertising in underground "ghost" stations. These are stations that have been abandoned but we don't normally notice since they're not lit. New York has them. Paris has them. Many older metro/subway systems have them.

Sometimes they are used as storage, but sometimes not at all. Essentially the abandoned station becomes a section of tunnel between stations.
In a great "re-use" of a station, the Paris Metro and 20th Century Fox have come together to install a "Prometheus" film promotion in the "phantom" Saint-Martin station along Metro Line 8 & 9. According to Golem13, the station was closed in 1939 at the start of World War II. Although reopened after the war, it was soon closed due to only being 100m from the Strasbourg-Saint Denis Station.

The folks promoting the new Ridley Scott film "Prometheus", which is a sort of prequel to "Alien", have gussy upped the station to promote the film, to great effect.  They've even inserted the promo on the train's station line map above train doorways! as if it were a new station.

Courtesy "Aloisia" at via.com
The images below, from Golem13 and the French version of the Huffington Post, show that Paris' metro stations and tunnels aren't all that different from the tunnels in Prometheus.

Image: HuffingtonPost.fr via Golem13

20th Century Fox, the studio behind the film, has indicated in a press release that,

"From the 16th to 25th of May, discover the ghost station Prometheus. Your journey on line 9 of the Paris Metro between République and Stransbourg-Saint Denis stations(when you travel west towards Point de Sevres) will be a bit surprising. Keep your eyes peeled.

You will live, for a few seconds, in the mysterious atmosphere of the dark recesses of the cave where the team of scientists from the spaceship Prometheus will discover the origins of humanity.

Good news: while inside the train, you will not live the fear and anxious dread of their discovery." (translation by Urban Life Signs)

Image: HuffingtonPost.fr via Golem13

Image: HuffingtonPost.fr via Golem13

Second Avenue Sagas has a nice longer piece about ghost stations in general and more on how they're used or neglected in New York City.

We found two good videos of the station. The first shows the ride through the station with sound effects and good editing, also showing poster ads in stations. The second shows some people in the ghost station, presumably setting up the ad.
"Prometheus Ghost Station" by io9 at YouTube

"Prometheus Paris Metro" by Simon kweks at YouTube

At first viewing it was quite exciting and creepy. However after seeing several videos, we notice that although ambitious and seemingly unprecidented as an advertising setup (what's next after abandoned metro stations?!?!), we notice that there's only one head and a collection of tall urns (with deadly aliens presumably inside), all backed by high quality, but classic film promo imagery posters. I guess they couldn't afford to put in a space suite or some fog; and the RATP would probably not have allowed that anyway.

Now all we can wonder, could one of our local transit systems, say BART, or LA's Metro do something in the same spirit, even though they lack "phantom" stations. Maybe BART could have short films during the 5 minute journey through the Transbay Tube. That would allow much longer films or ads than those that were located between Embarcadero and Montgomery stations several years ago.

"Target ad on BART (btwn Mont. & Embrc)" by eyeDten Tea at YouTube.com


  1. I just rewatched "Prometheus", at home this time. Before seeing the film, the big strange head seemed the most scary element of the ghost metro station. After seeing the film, it's all those urns. However, they'd have been more scary in the station if they had been oozing the black liquid that seeped out of them later in the film.


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