Why Volkswagen Just Moved the Beetle on the Cover of Abbey Road

This week marks 50 years of The Beatles' iconic album

The VW Beetle on the cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road wasn't quite this well parked in the original. Original cover: Apple Corps. Revised at right: Nord DDB
Headshot of David Griner

Maybe you never even noticed it. But you will now.

In honor of The Beatles’ Abbey Road turning 50 this week—it was released on Sept. 26, 1969—Volkswagen has released what it’s calling the Reparked Edition of the iconic album’s cover.

While the brand’s redux is notably lacking in John, Paul, George and/or Ringo, one aspect is quickly notable: the Volkswagen Beetle. In the original album artwork, we see the white car illegally parked on the left curb. Now, VW and agency Nord DDB have moved the Beetle a few feet to the right, giving it a legal parking spot.

There’s a point to the oddly specific homage, beyond a brand simply injecting itself into a cultural conversation. The photo stunt is aimed at highlighting the automaker’s Park Assist technology, which makes it easier to parallel park by identifying spots large enough for your vehicle and then automating the steering to get it into place.

The project isn’t just a quick Photoshop job, either. The vinyl Reparked Edition of Abbey Road is actually being sold online by Volkswagen Sweden and at Pet Sounds Records in Stockholm. All proceeds will be donated to Bris, a Swedish children’s rights advocacy group.

Apple Corps
Nord DDB

Calling the Beetle on the cover of Abbey Road one of the most famous moments in failed parking, the brand says its Reparked Edition highlights how far the brand’s technology has come in five decades.

“Volkswagen continuously innovates to make the driving experience better and safer for drivers and pedestrians,” said Jeanette Asteborg, marketing director of Volkswagen Sweden. “We want to show how far our technology has come since that little parking mishap, so that no one else has to live with a constant reminder of their parking fail.”

Nord DDB

@griner david.griner@adweek.com David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."