VW says goodbye to a legend, featuring Kevin Bacon, Andy Warhol and more

The Beetle is undoubtedly one of the most famous cars on the planet. A silhouette that’s recognised worldwide in an instant. The iconic ugly-cuteness of the Beetle, along with its reputation for being incredibly affordable, the Beetle helped put VW on the map as the car manufacturer of the people.

2004 Volkswagen Beetle (1)

The people at Volkswagen have put together a short video to pay respects to the great Beetle as they lay the model to rest and stop production of it for the foreseeable future. In the video, they reference the pop culture influences the car has had on the world.

The whole video is styled similarly to Andy Warhol’s artwork, where he made several prints of the famous Beetle and even one of the legendary ‘Lemon’ advert from the 60s.

Various references are made along the way, from Ren McCormack (played by Kevin Bacon in Footloose, a film that featured plenty of the Beetle) nodding at the car, Andy Warhol photographing it and of course, the backing tune is a cover of a Beatles song (of which, the car featured on the album cover for).

The very last VW Beetle rolled out of the VW plant in Puebla, Mexico in July 2019. The company waited a while until releasing the #TheLastMile video and it seems like a very well put together ad for a car that isn’t actually being sold anymore. The video was pushed across various networks in America on New Year’s Eve, as well as shown in Times Square, so we imagine the budget for this to be very large. That being said, we’re certainly glad this little work of art was created!

2004 Volkswagen Beetle (2)

The video ends with the words “where one road ends, another begins” so although this is the end of an icon, VW seems to be confident that their future will not be affected by the loss of their most famous car. That being said, the Beetle was not a well-selling car towards the end of its life, with sales and fame never quite reaching the same success as the car achieved in the 60s and 70s.

Interestingly, VW are celebrating 70 years of the Beetle, even though it was released in the 30s. This is not a mistake, but rather an intentional move to avoid the awkward fact that the Beetle was raised in the Nazi period and VW would much rather sever ties with that kind of imagery completely.

2004 Volkswagen Beetle (3)

There are also some underlying themes of environmentalism, which we assume were purposefully placed as VW’s ongoing attempt to heal their reputation after the dieselgate scandal in 2015. One scene shows the Beetle driving through a wind farm, thus alluding to the green future that the company plans for itself.

Leo Premutico, co-founder at Johannes Leonardo (the agency that created the video), characterized the ad as “the Beetle giving its blessing to the new path the company is going to be going down.”

2004 Volkswagen Beetle (4)

“part of the reason we wanted to animate this film is to really to paint everybody who’s in it, irrelevant of how famous they are, with the same brush — to really put everyone on the same footing,” – with Leo referring to the Beetle as “an extremely democratic vehicle.”

The Beetle has lived a long and prosperous life of 81 years (not 70!). Are you sad to see it go?

If you enjoyed this, we reckon you’d like to read more about some of the crazy VW ads of the 60s.

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2 Responses

  1. Peter Hayward

    A very successful car! Hideous to drive and hideous to work on. I know. I’ve done both.

    Reply

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