Going out with a bang-up ad campaign: VW bids farewell to the Beetle on New Year’s Eve

January 1, 2020

Volkswagen is saying goodbye to the Beetle during the last moments of 2019 with a little help from a Beatles song, actor Kevin Bacon, the late pop artist Andy Warhol, and Bravo’s Andy Cohen, Advertising Age reports.

A nostalgia-laden animated ad called “The Last Mile” will get a significant push during New Year’s Eve TV programming, with airings on ABC, CNN, as well as digital billboard buys on Times Square. The spot, by Johannes Leonardo, depicts the iconic car’s role in the life of a man who is shown growing old with the Beetle, which ended production earlier this year after a run that began in the 1930s. Along the way, the ad works in references to the Beetle’s outsized role in pop culture.

The soundtrack—a rendition of the Beatle’s “Let it Be” sung by Chicago-area children’s choir Pro Musica Youth Chorus—is a nod to the car’s appearance on the Abbey Road album cover, Ad Age notes.

Bacon appears in animated form as Ren, the Beetle-driving character he played in  the 1984 movie Footloose. An animated version of Warhol quickly appears (at the 1:01 mark, snapping a photo of the Beetle) in a nod to a painting the pop artist did of the car.

The ad also includes a reference to VW’s classic “Think Small” and “Lemon” ad campaigns from the 1960s by the agency Doyle Dane Bernbach.

Cohen appears at the 1:03 mark, on the receiving end of a “punch buggy”—the old road trip game that calls for a punch on the arm upon spotting a Beetle. The Bravo personality will co-host CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage. He teased the ad on Instagram with a paid post encouraging followers to post pictures of their own Beetles, the news outlet said..

It’s part of a larger influencer campaign that will include postings from other Beetle enthusiasts. The TV ad will also run during NBC’s January 1 coverage of the National Hockey League’s “Winter Classic;” as well as during college football programming, including the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl.

Research contact: @adage

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