Volkswagen Group said goodbye to the Beetle at the very end of 2019 with a little help from a Beatles song, Kevin Bacon, Andy Warhol and Andy Cohen.
A nostalgia-laden animated ad called “The Last Mile” got 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 Beetle’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. Bacon appears in animated form as Ren, the Beetle-driving character he played in “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" campaigns from the 1960s by Doyle Dane Bernbach.
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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.