In the National Lampoon
Vacation film series, nothing ever goes right, except at the box
office. Four films were released between 1983 and 1997, and they
have such a dedicated, loyal audience that the National Lampoon
brand lives on.
The brand has been
groomed, extended, nurtured and milked by National Lampoon Inc. --
even though the magazine that launched the brand died seven years
ago. Like any good brand in the 21st century, it will not rest
until it manifests as a lifestyle brand. And like any good
lifestyle brand, it must have a travel component. In other words,
your clients, too, can star in their very own National Lampoon
About now, you may
be thinking, While I have many clients who enjoy laughing at the
unfortunate Griswolds on vacation, I dont have many clients who
would actually want to be like the unfortunate Griswolds on
Lampoon people have thought about that. Though their Vacation film
series has a travel-related theme, they havent tied their National
Lampoon Tours division to the Griswolds. Dont think of Chevy Chase
as hapless Clark W. Griswold. Think John Belushi, full of hap, in
his Bluto role from the first National Lampoon movie, Animal
Toga parties, Greek
games and 24-hour open bars are a part of the spring break packages
offered by the tour division. College students can sign up for Las
Vegas or Cabo San Lucas and experience, in the words of the
company, all the components of a good time. Not as succinct as,
say, the Fun Ship, but not a bad hook to dangle in front of college
I phoned the
executive vice president of the tour division, Jason Hollander. I
kind of worried his tone would be somewhere between the mock
sincerity of Eddie Haskell and the sincere mockery of Van Wilder,
the party master in Animal House.
Alas, I found
myself disarmed by Hollander, a modest and funny marketer who has
experience selling travel to young adults. He has been running
spring break tours to Cabo for 14 years, first as an extension of a
college magazine he started called 28th Street and then under the
His target market
for National Lampoon Tours is the first generation to have spent
its entire adolescence in the era of the Web. Were going to have a
strong online presence [NationalLampoonTours.com], he said. Our target
audience relies on the Web for information and less on print. I
used to be a print publisher, by the way, so it makes my skin crawl
to say such a thing.
He will offer
travel agents commission on land packages, or he will sell them
net, enabling agents to add air and mark up the package.
With the backing of
National Lampoon Network beaming ads through cable TV into 600
campuses and street teams of social influencers on campuses,
Hollander isnt worried about filling the tours.
experimental, he said, but we feel confident in the brands appeal.
How many travel products are out there that dont [require]
explaining what the brand means?
Well, you might
need to explain one thing: Think Belushi, not Chase.