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"Don and I were like wide-eyed little kids," recalls senior CW Joe Fallon of being named the team to handle Arnold's broadcast and cinema launch for the New Beetle Convertible. Fallon joined his pal Arnold VP-ACD Don Shelford for the first time in the more than five years he'd known him at the agency. "It was like, holy cow! The greatest creative assignment in the country! It took a couple weeks for us to calm down and stop talking about how great and ominous this is. We'd better come through." After spending almost every waking minute together for a month, they did come through, with the uplifting "Bubble," backed by the ELO tune "Mr. Blue Sky," as well as the equally celebratory "Chain Reaction," directed by Mike Mills.

The mission was in good hands from the get-go. Shelford, a Boston University and Creative Circus grad, is an adventurous spirit who once captained a sloop in the Caribbean and proved equally swashbuckling on the "Hey, There's A . . ." campaign, which earned Gold at Cannes, only after going neck and neck with Diesel for the Print Grand Prix; humorous spots celebrating the strength of the Beetle's roundness, and the Super Bowl pleaser where a GTI gets stuck in a tree. Fallon's affiliation with the brand is just as long, and he turned up in the ads before he started writing them. The Boston College roommate of former Arnold CD, now Modernista! CD Lance Jensen, he'd often stop by the agency to visit his pal and he was cast as an actor in pitchwork. Later, Fallon landed some dialogue roles in real VW spots. He eventually quit his day job running his own media startup and joined Arnold in the mid-'90s, just after Shelford signed up. Since then, Fallon has written award-winning VW radio as well as campaigns for Titleist.

On "Bubble," in which an office drone named Bill Briggs peers hopefully outside his concrete capsule at a new convertible, the pair found inspiration within the walls of their Boston HQ. "We work in a pretty enclosed place where you walk through habitrails and can walk for blocks indoors," Shelford notes." However, "We didn't want to alienate or make any statement that life sucks," Fallon elaborates of the spot's hopeful tone. "It really was just holding a mirror up." Continues Shelford, "It's not saying that this is going to be the answer to your problems, but it's a wakeup call that something is else out there."

Fallon continues with a new broadcast branding effort for VW. As for Shelford, the recent work may have inspired, or perhaps foretold, his next move. Mid-interview he steps away to chat with Arnold honcho Ron Lawner. A few minutes later, he returns and announces, "I just gave my two weeks notice." No hard feelings and no plans to go to another shop, he insists. He's taking time off from the business to recharge and surf in Mexico for a few months. "I think poor Billy Briggs in the ad is going to be stuck on film and he'll never get to do it," he jokes. "He's frozen in time, so I have to take responsibility for him. The Bubble Boy breaks out! Finally!"(

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