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23 Marketing Lessons Hidden Within Movie Quotes from National Lampoon “Christmas Vacation”

If you watch Christmas movies this time of year, you’re not alone.  A survey of American households by Statista.com says 60 percent 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, Its a Wonderful Life,  A Christmas Story, Elf, and my favorite — National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

The hero of Christmas Vacation is Clark Griswald (Chevy Chase). Clark is determined to show his family a fun-filled, old-fashioned Christmas.

It took 30+ years of viewing, but I finally realized he and the other characters were actually teaching us key marketing principles in fact, lines from the movie are easily converted into the key lesson. See the 23 key marketing lessons and the corresponding quotes from Christmas Vacation below:


Lesson #1: Find out what customers want and don’t want.

Movie Quote: I dont want to spend the holidays dead!” — Ellen  


Lesson #2: Double-check all copy to avoid mistakes.

Movie Quote: Eat my rubber!” — Clark Griswold


Lesson #3: Clarify your positioning.

Movie Quote:  Clark! Were stuck under a truck!” — Ellen


Lesson #4: Reframe the description of the product or service to add value.

Movie Quote:“ It’s not big, its just…full.” -Clark


Lesson #5: Add value to the customer’s experience.

Movie Quote: “Clark, Audreys frozen from the waist down.” -Ellen  “ Ah, its all part of the experience honey” -Clark


Lesson #6: Listen to Your Customers.

Movie Quote: “Do you hear it? It’s a funny, squeaky sound!” —  Aunt Bethany


Lesson #7: Expect and accept some criticism from customers.

Movie Quote: “The little lights are not twinkling.” — Grandpa Art


Lesson #8: Answer customer questions honestly.

Movie Quote: ” And why is the carpet all wet Todd?” -Margo  “I dont know Margo!” -Todd


Lesson #9: Explain changes customers notice.

Movie Quote: Thats somethin, aint it? She falls in a well, eyes go crossed. She gets kicked by a mule, they go back to normal. I dont know.” -Eddie


Lesson #10: Encourage workforce education.

Movie Quote: “The older boy, bless his soul, is preparing for his career.” -EddieCollege?-Clark.  “Carnival.” -Eddie


Lesson #11: Apologize quickly for mistakes.

Movie Quote: “Im sorry, this is our familys first kidnapping.”  -Ellen


Lesson #12: Be thankful for mentors. 

Movie Quote: Dad, you taught me everything I know about exterior illumination.” — Clark


Lesson #13:  Consider offering a subscription service.

Movie Quote: “Its, its, its, a one-year membership in the jelly-of-the-month club.” -Clark  “Clark, thats the gift that keeps on giving the whole year. “-Eddie


Lesson #14: Offer to do something extra.  

Movie Quote: 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


Lesson #15Negotiate carefully for media deals.  

Movie Quote:He took my house, I took the RV.” — Eddie


Lesson #16:  Provide warnings and alerts as needed.

Movie Quote:  “You better take a rain check on that, Art—hes got a lip fungus they aint identified yet.” — Eddie


Lesson #17:  Make your objectives clear.

Movie Quote: I was just looking at something for my wife, God rest her soul.” — Clark


Lesson #18: Seek a consensus of opinion.

Movie Quote:“ Cant see the line, can ya, Russ?” — Clark


Lesson #19:  Recognize and use unsolicited testimonials.  

Movie Quote: “I love it here. You dont got to put on your coat to go to the bathroom, and your house is always parked in the same place.” -Ruby Sue


Lesson #20: Watch for anything unusual.

Movie Quote:  “Mom, this box is meowing.” -Rusty


Lesson #21: Build a tribe with shared experiences.

Movie Quote: “Im not sure what to say, except its Christmas and were all in misery.” -Ellen


Lesson #22:  Give lots of thought to new strategies.  

Movie Quote: “I dont know if I oughta go sailing down no hill with nothing between the ground and my brain but a piece of government plastic. “-Eddie


Lesson #23:  Explain why you are doing things.

Movie Quote:  “Shi**ers full. -Eddie



About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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