Lessons from ‘Christmas Vacation’ Quotes

By George Farris
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – If you watch Christmas movies this time of year, you’re not alone.  A survey of American households by Statista.com says 60% of respondents watched at least one Christmas film with family during the holidays.

According to YouGov.com, the most popular Christmas movies are “Home Alone,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,”  “A Christmas Story,” “Elf” and my favorite – “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” 

The hero of Christmas Vacation is Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase). Clark is determined to show his family a fun-filled, old-fashioned Christmas. It took 30-plus years of viewing. But I finally realized he and the other characters were actually teaching us key marketing principles. 

Below, for your enlightenment and pleasure, are some of the quotes and corresponding marketing lessons from “Christmas Vacation”:

Find out what customers want and don’t want. “I don’t want to spend the holidays dead!” – Ellen

Double-check all copy to avoid mistakes. “Eat my rubber!” – Clark Griswold

Clarify your positioning. “Clark! We’re stuck under a truck!” – Ellen

Reframe the description of the product or service to add value. “It’s not big. It’s just – full.” – Clark

Add value to the customer’s experience. “Clark, Audrey’s frozen from the waist down.” – Ellen

“Ah, it’s all part of the experience, Honey” – Clark

Listen to Your Customers. “Do you hear it? It’s a funny, squeaky sound!” – Aunt Bethany

Expect and accept some criticism from customers. “The little lights are not twinkling.” – Grandpa Art

Answer customer questions honestly. “And why is the carpet all wet, Todd?” – Margo

“I don’t know, Margo!” – Todd

Explain changes customers notice. “That’s somethin’, ain’t it? She falls in a well. Eyes go crossed. She gets kicked by a mule. They go back to normal. I don’t know.” – Eddie

Encourage workforce education. “The older boy (bless his soul) is preparing for his career.” – Eddie

“College?” – Clark

“Carnival.” – Eddie

Apologize quickly for mistakes. “I’m sorry. This is our family’s first kidnapping.”  – Ellen

Be thankful for mentors.  “Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.” – Clark

Consider offering a subscription service. “It’s, it’s, it’s, a one-year membership in the jelly-of-the-month club.” – Clark

 “Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.” – Eddie

Offer to do something extra. “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?” – Clark

Negotiate carefully for media deals. “He took my house. I took the RV.” – Eddie

Provide warnings and alerts as needed. “You better take a rain check on that, Art – he’s got a lip fungus they ain’t identified yet.” – Eddie

Make your objectives clear. “I was just looking at something for my wife (God rest her soul).” – Clark

Seek a consensus of opinion. “Can’t see the line, can ya, Russ?” – Clark

Watch for anything unusual. “Mom, this box is meowing.” – Rusty

Build a tribe with shared experiences. “I’m not sure what to say – except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.” – Ellen

Give lots of thought to new strategies. “I don’t know if I oughta go sailing down no hill with nothing between the ground and my brain but a piece of government plastic.“ – Eddie

Always explain why you are doing what the public sees. “Shi**er’s full.” – Eddie

George Farris is CEO of Farris Marketing. Email gff@FarrisMarketing.com.