It’s been 31 years since Chevy Chase starred in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” But Ford is banking that the slapstick holiday flick carries enough relevance today to give its new electric Mustang a jolt.
In a new ad released this weekend, Chase, now 77, reprises his role as the bumbling Clark Griswold. Along with Beverly D'Angelo, who plays Ellen Griswold, Chase re-enacts the famous scene in which he plugs in 250 strands of Christmas lights. In the movie it causes a neighborhood power outage, but in the ad, Ellen Griswold simultaneously plugs in the Mustang Mach-E, which steals the show.
The spot is part of an integration with “Saturday Night Live’s” Christmas special set to air on Dec. 22. It was created by Lorne Michaels’ studio, Broadway Video, along with WPP’s Ford agency GTB and production company O Positive.
Chase in a statement said: “It’s great to be back for another Christmas with my on-screen family and its rotating assortment of kids—and I have Ford and Mustang Mach-E to thank for paying me to do it. I suppose you’re expecting some sort of riff on electric cars, but I can say with 85% certainty that this thing probably won’t cause any blackouts in your neighborhood when you plug it in.”
It’s not the first time an advertiser has used the scene. Old Navy recreated it with Chase as part of a 2012 holiday campaign. And Ford is not the only automaker that has leveraged the “Vacation” film franchise. Nissan-owned Infiniti partnered with Warner Bros on this ad starring Christie Brinkley that came as part of a tie-in with the remake of the original "National Lampoon's Vacation" movie.
Ford’s ad comes as the automaker pours significant marketing muscle behind the Mach-E, which hit dealerships this month with a starting price of $43,995. The model—the first crossover and electric vehicle in Mustang’s 56-year history—began hyping online reservations for the vehicle 13 months ago with an ad campaign from BBDO starring Idris Elba.