End of an Era: Volkswagen Commemorates 70 Years of the VW Beetle with Animated Short
The last production Volkswagen Beetle rolled out of the assembly line last July, marking the end of the car’s three generations with over 21.5 million vehicles sold all over the world. To formalize the conclusion of the Beetle era, Volkswagen launched a new campaign called ‘The Last Mile,’ an emotional animated short dedicated to the iconic car.
The commercial debuted on the last day of 2019 during Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020 on the ABC television channel.
The 90-second commercial tells the story of an individual whose major life events—from childhood to elderly age—were influenced by the presence of the Volkswagen Beetle in one way or the other. The commercial also pays homage to past advertising campaigns such as the “Lemon” and “Think Small,” while featuring cameos from artist Andy Warhol and Kevin Bacon’s character in Footloose.
Warhol featured the Beetle in some of his art pieces, while Bacon’s Footloose character drove a Beetle in the film.
Of course, the ad won’t be complete unless there’s a Beatles song playing in the background. VW chose a rendition of ‘Let It Be’ for the job, performed by the Pro Musica Youth Chorus from Illinois, USA.
The animated short ends with the Beetle transforming into an actual beetle and taking flight, after which the phrase “Where one road ends, another begins,” appears on screen, along with the Volkswagen’s new signature facade.
“The Beetle is easily one of the most recognizable cars in the history of automobiles,” said Saad Chehab, senior vice president, VW brand marketing. “Honoring it properly required a medium with just as much versatility and universal appeal as the car itself.”
“While we chose the classic Beetle as the star of the animation, additional campaign components in Times Square honor the latter two generations of cars and their place and presence in American culture. We are proud of our past but our eye is on the future – hence our choice of New Year’s Eve to hint at our upcoming long-range EV and the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport,” Chehab added.
Complementing the short film’s debut during New Year’s Eve festivities, Volkswagen adorned New York City’s Times Square with a celebration of films, messages, and hints at its future brand design, including a more modern Volkswagen logo.
Utilizing multiple billboards and digital spaces, the future of the brand’s Drive Bigger messaging and images of the 2020 Atlas Cross Sport went on full display as the clock ticked down to 2020.
A social media campaign, focusing largely on content supplied by the brand’s fans, will also launch on Volkswagen’s social media channels.