Seven decades, the world enjoyed the beauty of Volkswagen‘s most iconic product: the Beetle. Even though it was resurrected with different models over the span of the years, the most recent generation of Beetles has already come off the production line. Yet, the vehicle does not simply disappear from the landscape. The car manufacturer hired ad agency Johannes Leonardo to help the Beetle say goodbye in a proper way.
In the “The Last Mile” campaign, it is not the Beetle the one which says farewell. Rather, it is people who gathered all together to bring a tribute to the car. To bring the video to life, VW partnered with LA-based production company Nexus Studios along with director FX Goby.
“The film has a limited color palette, evocative of a nostalgic feel. We wanted it to feel warm and tactile, as if every frame had been printed, keeping the slight happy accidents of overlapping colors and paper textures,” says FX Goby.
The video is boosted with a rotoscope animation technique, where the creatives shot the entire story live-action and animated over each frame, giving the film an original aesthetic in the color palette which is clearly inspired by the eras of the Beetle’s life. In terms of music, the artists chose a unique composition of ‘Let It Be’ sang by the Pro Musica Youth Chorus.
“The Last Mile” features the experience of a young boy who was accompanied in every step of his life by the iconic Bug. After a lifetime on the road, the Beetle is spotted alongside thousands of Americans from coast to coast, era to era, who kindly join together to say goodbye to the car. People whose lives and careers have been influenced by the VW Beetle are seen in the video: Andy Warhol, who did a print series of VW Beetle in the 1960s; Kevin Bacon, who played Ren McCormack in Footloose and whose Volkswagen Beetle was emblematic of the 60’s counter-culture that Ren was bringing into the small midwestern town. Another celebrity cameo is Andy Cohen, an avid beetle influencer for today’s generation.
“This animated film pays homage to the imprint this car has made as we make way for an exciting future of electric mobility for the masses,” Johannes Leonardo Chief Creative Officer Leo Premutico said to CNBC. “When creating the campaign, it was very intentional that we didn’t put anyone person or moment on a pedestal. The Volkswagen Beetle was the great equalizer for society and culture at large. This isn’t one person’s goodbye or a company’s, it’s everyone’s goodbye.”
The 90-second ad is available on ABC and CNN, but it can also be admired on YouTube. On social media, users are encouraged to post their favorite memories of their car. The people are invited to share their experiences using the hashtag #TheLastMile and a simple motif: Say g(o\!/o)dbye. What’s your last ode to this iconic car?