Very much in keeping with its nearly eternal existence as a landmark automobile, the Volkswagen Beetle, which can directly trace its roots to the 1930s, has enjoyed a long goodbye. Wolfsburg confirmed more than a year ago that production of the Beetle, even for offshore markets, would finally come to an end. If you were waiting for the ball to come down last night and were watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2020 – honest, that was the name of the program on ABC – you got a chance to see Volkswagen’s final farewell to what many people consider the most iconic product in automotive history.
The Johannes Leonardo advertising agency crafted an animated film tracing the life of a young boy whose experiences unfold on a parallel track to the Beetle’s becoming (for a while) the world’s most ubiquitous car. Cultural references pop up throughout the short subject, ranging from Kevin Bacon’s performance in Footloose to the art of Andy Warhol. If you didn’t stay up late enough, we’re happy to inform you that the evening ended with the Volkswagen “lollipop” logo, and various hints of the auto giant’s coming all-electric future, were projected onto the sides of buildings in Times Square as the ball prepared to fall. Let’s face it, cross-marketing and co-branding is standard procedure in modern global business, so none of this creativity should come as a shock. Right here, we choose to focus on the animated Beetle’s license plate: “70 Years.” By any measure, that’s some kind of a successful run in a profoundly challenging industry.