By on December 30, 2020

Image: Ford/YouTube

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.

The generic actors brought on to play replacement Griswolds don’t draw laughs. Even the punchline (“I used to have a Mustang, back when cars made sounds”) doesn’t land. And it’s not a bad line.

Really, none of the jokes are poorly written – they just don’t work as well as they should.

I don’t want to make mountains out of molehills here – unlike the Mercedes ad I put in the crosshairs yesterday, this ad isn’t confusing at all. It’s just meant to be funny, and it isn’t. Which is a shame, considering Chase and D’Angelo’s willingness to partake.

I’m not sure if the ad needed better writing, if the actors (including the A-listers) don’t have their hearts in it, or if it’s just impossible to capture the humor of that scene 31 years later in a car commercial. Or maybe it’s all of the above.

I salute Ford for coming up with the idea. I just wish the finished product made me laugh.

[Image: Screenshot via Ford/YouTube]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

33 Comments on “Adventures in Advertising: That Ford Mach-E Ad with Clark Griswold Lacks Laughs...”

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • slap: I have an Alltrack – one of the reasons why I got the cheapest model trim level was that it was the only...
  • Art Vandelay: Well, if they want to work from home, they can just learn to code.
  • Scoutdude: “NHTSA Investigating 2013-15 Honda Accord Steering Malfunction” Boom, seven words and it still conveys...
  • Art Vandelay: Naa
  • 2ACL: And now for the downside of Honda parts interchangeability: the potential for other models to be affected....

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber