Peter Arnell has been called everything from genius to fraud. Now add a new label: unemployed. On Feb. 2 the polarizing pitchman was fired from his job at Omnicom after 10 years with the company, according to a recent lawsuit. Details of the dismissal were not available at the time of writing.
Arnell, whose infamous $35 million redesign of the Tropicana orange juice carton lasted only a few weeks, slapped his former employer Omnicom with a $1 million lawsuit last week in Manhattan Supreme Court over an eclectic array of bric-a-brac that he purchased in part with the company’s money.
News of the termination was in the lawsuit.
Arnell, who is as well known for successful ad campaigns for brands like DKNY and Pepsi as he is for his expensive failures, could take his ousting from the holding company as a cause for future litigation.
He questions “whether such termination was lawful,” according to wording in the suit. Arnell claims the company is trying to make off with his “unusual works, rare, unique one-of-a-kind signed artist’s volumes, first editions, photographs, catalogues” and other eclectic tchotckes. He says that by contract most of the items are his, even the ones purchased on the company’s dime.
Arnell has made a show of his odd taste and behavior. He reportedly has a collection of toy soldiers, model spaceships and 1,600 vintage glasses. His hands are orange from all the citrus fruit he eats, according to a Newsweek profile. His grandiosity is legendary. He cited Euclid, Pythagoras and the theory of relativity as inspirations for the redesign of the Pepsi logo in 2009.
The squabble over the kooky collectibles heated up on Jan. 27 when Arnell sent a letter to Omnicom demanding that it return his stuff, according to court papers, but the company refused.
Arnell says in the suit, which cites the Arnell Group as well as its owner Omnicom, that he “suffers and will continue to suffer irreparable damage” if he is unable to access his library of oddities. Calls to Arnell’s lawyer and the Arnell Group were not returned. Omnicom declined to comment.