Adventures in Advertising: That Ford Mach-E Ad With Clark Griswold Lacks Laughs

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
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adventures in advertising that ford mach e ad with clark griswold lacks laughs

While on the subject of holiday ads, I have another beef with a different automaker than yesterday.

Today’s target: Ford.

Like practically everyone, I love National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It might be my favorite Christmas movie. And I can see why Ford would choose to base an ad around Clark and Ellen Griswold to promote the Mustang Mach-E EV.

I even applaud Ford for getting Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo to partake and play Clark and Ellen in the ad. Too bad neither Johnny Galecki nor Juliette Lewis seemed interested. Or Randy Quaid, for that matter.

The ad, if you haven’t seen it, recreates the scene in the movie in which Clark, with an assist from Ellen, finally gets the Christmas lights to work. In this case, the Mustang’s charger also lends a hand. It’s clever and creative and would make for a great ad. Just one problem – it’s also supposed to be funny. And it isn’t.

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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7 of 33 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Dec 31, 2020

    This is better than most car ads. At least Ford is advertising the Mustang Mach E unlike GM who doesn't advertise many of their vehicles and in the case of the Impala many were not aware that it existed until GM stopped making it. I would have liked to see the old Family Truckster in the background.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Dec 31, 2020

    Absolutely cringeorthy. And Chevy Chase is sure a long way from 1978's Foul Play, when he seduced a young hot Goldie Hawn.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 31, 2020

    They put a little clever house number in there, 1964 1/2. Other than that, Ellen's father is the same age as she is, and Clark is so shaky he can hardly pretend to put the fake plugs together. Sad.

    • See 2 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 31, 2020

      @Corey Lewis Corey, you are getting better at this - made me lol. [I'm going to cut you some slack and not post anything until next year - maybe.]

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Jan 02, 2021

    After watching this ad several times it is better than most car ads at least it has some humor. There is only so much rock climbing, racing, and status seeking one can tolerate but then that is why there is a mute button on the remote.