Chevy Chase Has Now Been Relegated to Doing Publicity Stunts for Fried Chicken Chains

Clark Griswold recreated his iconic Christmas light scene at a Raising Cane's restaurant in suburban Chicago.
Chevy Chase Has Now Been Relegated to Doing Publicity Stunts for Fried Chicken Chains

It’s that time of year again when advertisers mine nostalgia veins dry and corrupt precious memories of holiday classics – this Christmas season, the entertainment world’s Ebenezer Scrooge, Chevy Chase, has cashed in on Clark Griswold and the fond feelings those of us who grew up watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation still hold for the comedy classic in a strange, sad and soulless promotion for a Raising Cane’s location in the Chicago suburbs.  

It would be an understatement to say that the public perception of Chevy Chase has soured since the SNL legend first appeared in the John Hughes Christmas classic in 1989. After an acrimonious departure from Community in 2014, Chase’s career has slowed significantly to the point where the elderly star is now recreating classic moments from his heyday to sell chicken fingers to suburbanites.

Through the extensive ad campaign, Chase and Raising Cane's founder Todd Graves have recreated the most iconic scenes from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation in order to simultaneously promote the Baton Rouge-based chicken finger chain and raise money for animal shelters near the Morton Grove, Illinois location where the duo imitated the famous Christmas lights scene. Neither Graves nor Chase have commented on the irony of promoting both the saving and eating of animals at the same time.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to listen carefully – anything I say is funny,” Chase addressed the large suburban crowd, because winters in the Chicago suburbs are so boring that hundreds of people will wait around in a fast food restaurant's parking lot to see a former movie star plug in an extension cord. Chase and Graves completed the ceremony by driving off in a replica Griswold station wagon, taking with them the last morsel of nostalgia we had for Chase's illustrious early career. 

Chase was no doubt compensated handsomely for his participation in the promotion, but it's difficult not to find campaigns like this depressing. Nothing says “Christmas Spirit” quite like corporations capitalizing on the last bit of marketability of a formerly respected figure.

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