Hotline

Arnold Unveils Volkswagen TV Spots

BOSTON—Arnold continues to combine lifestyle themes and playful visuals in its latest spots for Volkswagen. One commercial that broke late last month contrasts different images of “squares”—desktop PCs, office buildings, doors—with the smooth curves of the New Beetle. The ad is thematically similar to Arnold’s earlier spots for the Beetle convertible showing a boxed-in office worker seeking escape through his VW. New dealer-focused spots feature two young men trading banter on a car lot. The ads retain the “Drivers wanted” tagline. VW spends about $450 million on ads per year.

Former Mass. Lt. Governor Opens PR Firm

BOSTON—Thomas P. O’Neill III, former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and son of the late U.S. House of Representatives speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, has opened a public relations company. O’Neill & Associates in Boston employs many of the same staffers as O’Neill’s former firm, McDermott/O’Neill & Associates, which he sold to Omnicom in 1999. Clients includeThermo Electron Corp. and Tufts Health Plan, which handle ads through Boston shops Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos and Gearon Hoffman, respectively.

Hamlin to Manage Accounts at Arnold

BOSTON—Pam Hamlin has become director of account management at Havas’ Arnold, a new position in which she will oversee 165 employees and help guide some 20 accounts at the agency here. Hamlin, previously managing partner, group account director, will continue to manage the shop’s brand planning department as well as the accounts of Fidelity Investments, Ocean Spray and sister ship lines Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises. Her promotion follows the recent elevation of Phil Reilly to evp, director of brand and business development.

Homer Simpson to Star in Reebok Campaign

NEW YORK—Reebok, which has featured celebrities in previous ads, will try to top itself with Homer Simpson. The patriarch of the animated TV clan will appear in a Reebok Classic print campaign, via Arnell Group, New York, breaking in February to coincide with both the 300th episode of The Simpsons that month and the retail launch of Supercourt sneakers in April. In the ads, Homer sports a pair of Classic Supercourts and spouts a new version of one of his well-known phrases, “Mmm … Classic.” Reebok of Canton, Mass., spent $46 million on ads in the first nine months of 2002.

Account Roundup

Six semifinalists are preparing pitches in the review for Nikon’s $20 million account. The contenders are Arnold, Boston, and BBDO, Bozell, DDB, Euro RSCG MVBMS and McCann-Erickson, all New York, according to search consultant Pile & Co., Boston. A final decision will be made in February. Incumbent Fallon, Minneapolis, will not defend. … Four shops will make final presentations at month’s end in the review for the $3-5 million account of Shaw’s Supermarkets. In the pitch are incumbent Allen & Gerritsen, Watertown, Mass.; Connelly Partners/CGN, Boston; Duffy & Shanley, Providence, R.I.; and Bouchez Kent & Co., New York, per Pile and Co., Boston.