When people talk to reporters, they have a natural tendency to inflate themselves into someone they’re not. Reading Newsweek’s recent interview with Peter Arnell (Mad Man: Brand genius Peter Arnell says one design flub won’t tarnish his rep. Rivals aren’t so sure.), I just want to stop everything, call Pete up and scream, “Cut the bull. Just stop. We know what you are, we get it.”
Throw any person on a stage with bright lights and they’ll respond. On this blog, people like to be the most honest versions of themselves, dropping vitriolic commentary all over the place but rarely allowing for quotation. The same is true in Newsweek’s piece — a number of the people asked to talk about Arnell omitted their names for fear of reprisal. But they dished about his tendency to demean employees (allegedly) and the rumor that he carries a gun in an ankle holster all the same. The rule seems to be, “cross Peter Arnell or get quoted on AgencySpy and your career is over.” Well, thank goodness we’re not feeding from his tit, and for anonymity.
Arnell mentions, appropriately, that when you’re one of the few making money in a recession, you’ve gotta roll with the punches. True that, sir. This is especially true when you make mistakes — they’re right out there for everyone to see and if your brand is as ubiquitous your last name, your gaffes tend to be remembered more than your successes. Everyone’s like, “wait why is he making so much money when he just made that enormous mistake?” Relationships, that’s why.
He says, comically, that he doesn’t want to be remembered as Peter “Tropicana” Arnell. As if demeaning, gun-toting former human bowling ball weren’t bad enough. I’d take a nickname like Tropicana over that other stuff, any day. And Pete, it could be worse. Like, you could be known as four-eyes or one of the Guiness Book of World Record motorcycle twins. But you’re not. You’re Peter Arnell; you’ve made it, and that means people will want to ride the waves behind you dude. So buck up, load that pistol and shoot the boat. A good captain goes down with the ship.
Eventually you’ll change course and decide to slow down to 15 oranges a day (rather than 20…you’ve got to read this article), or maybe some kid who works for you will make a name for herself the way you did. Damn, the paranoia has got to be driving you insane. Hell you could start a blog and live off selling the ad space.
But now that we know you’re bullshit (I mean, you said it yourself), can you just take a breath and admit that the Pepsi PDF thing was a set up? Or that you failed with Tropicana? You’re human, bro, people will understand. What matters is that you’re an advertising figurehead and people are talking. So give them something to talk about. Who cares? What we don’t understand is why you shroud yourself in bullshit. But what do I know — I’ve only seen the guy speak once and at the time I had no idea who he was. I remember tweeting something about how awkward his presentation was and thinking later that pitching must not have been his thing. I’m no public speaker but you’d think having Leno’s phone number would make one’s balls puff up a bit. You’d think he’d have a hard time sitting down.
I bet he can’t sit down — there are too many pictures to take, oranges to eat, logos to create, golf carts to invent, agencies to run, images to maintain, families to care for, pounds to lose, blog articles to read. Don’t worry Peter Eric, people will still have immense respect for you tomorrow. And when you get a second, let’s have a drink.