Peter Arnell: Svengali, Hypnotist, Basement Chemist

By Matt Van Hoven 

If Peter Arnell can be lauded for anything it’s his ability to garner huge sums of money from clients that can afford to be charmed. That’s a nice way of saying Arnell basically duped PepsiCo out of an estimated $45 million dollars &#151 a purported $10 million for one little smiling Pepsi logo and another $35 million for Tropicana’s redesign and a subsequent campaign which was rendered useless just weeks after its debut.

Some would argue that Arnell is pure genius; others might call him a hack &#151 but no matter the opinion, the man has accomplished a lot in terms of bringing home the bacon. But what’s made him so successful? We’re truly baffled by his most recent successes, mostly because we’ve seen his presentation skills. Unimpressive. That can’t be it. Furthermore, he’s managed to garner gobs of bad press for his biggest client PepsiCo within months of their respective design launches (Tropicana, Pepsi). And they haven’t so much as whimpered about it.


One industry pro put it to us like this, “(Arnell’s) so successful because he’s like a witch doctor. he’s had enough success already that there is an aura that he’s the best, that’s he going to get the job done. so people walk into the room expecting that he’s going to save them with his herbs and potions and 50 page design pdfs.”

Another said, “Arnell is a brilliant guy who worked his ass off… ever been to his office? DKNY, SAMSUNG, HANES, Home Depot…not bad..”

Witchdoctor? We smell a Sci-Fi channel original movie about a quorum of high-level adverati who bamboozle their clients with salt rubs, mineral baths and meat cologne. Who knows, maybe they use homemade roofies here and there.

So we leave it to you all to help sort this out. It’s honestly intriguing to ponder what makes Arnell such a powerhouse in this industry, when there’s so little evidence of the “genius” PepsiCo paid for. At least none that we’ve seen. Consider the vast marketing cutbacks, then think about Arnell’s latest news clips, and please share with us what you think has led to his success. Seriously &#151 we’re not looking for the hater remarks that are undoubtedly brewing inside you &#151 let’s aim the ship at productivity, mmk?


More: “Arnell’s Latest ‘Design’ Debacle: Tropicana Returns to Orange with Protruding Straw