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Sources: ConEd Biz Transfers from Shuttering Arnell to The Gate

Yesterday came reports that Sara Arnell, CEO of Omnicom’s once-heralded Arnell Group, which was founded by her ex-husband Peter Arnell (read interesting post-Tropicana logo fiasco piece here), made the decision to close the agency’s doors for good. One of the items of note from the Crain’s report about the shuttering yesterday was that the business for Arnell’s last remaining AOR client, utility/power brand ConEdison (sometimes the bane of many a New Yorker’s existence), was being shifted elsewhere.

Well, sources familiar with the matter tell us that following a review, The Gate Worldwide, which has office space from New York to London to Singapore will taking over on what we’ve been told is the $15-20 million ConEd account. From what we’re hearing, The Gate beat out the likes of SS+K and Cramer-Krasselt in the review, which was launched in December and actually wrapped up last month.

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Banana Hammocks, Peter Arnell Owes HarperCollins $100,000


There was no reason to write “banana hammocks” in the headline but given Arnell’s sweary nature, we though using something out of the ordinary was somehow a more appropriate way to lead into this story about how Arnell’s life got flip, turned upside down. He’s been sued by publisher HarperCollins for not coming through on a “personal branding” book they paid him to write back in 2006.

The deal was initially worth $550k, but he took $100k up front to, you know, get things going. Then he hired a ghost writer, fired that person, and then another ghost writer who was also fired before deciding that he’d just do it already with the help of his wife and assistant. But when he handed in his homework it was a few thousand words short (only 25,000 of the 80,000 agreed to) and bla bla now HC wants their moneys back.

Here’s the funny part: Arnell countered the suit, saying he didn’t have enough editorial help. Yeah, probably because your editor said something like, “hey, dude, put down the oranges and write me like another 55 thousand words and we’ll talk, mmk?” Snarf snarf.

Cityfile has the breathless details on this one.

Now, how to tie in the banana hammock thing. Um, how about a picture of Sacha Baron Cohen? Fantastic.

Oh and in case you’d forgotten, this is the same Peter Arnell who thinks Pepsi has its own gravitational force and thought pulling the straw and orange off Tropicana would be a good idea.

More:Peter Arnell: Svengali, Hypnotist, Basement Chemist

Peter Arnell: Svengali, Hypnotist, Basement Chemist


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

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

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Peter Arnell is having a bad year. The Omnicom agency recently rebranded Tropicana orange juice (a PepsiCo brand), changing the long lived orange-with-straw-sticking-out to a simple glass of juice. The $35 million redesign went live this year, but after receiving gobs of complaints from consumers, the brand has decided to revert to the old look.

Accompanying the packaging redesign (which included the glass of juice and a cap that resembles half of an orange) is a full fledged campaign extolling the familial wonders of freshly squeezed orange juice. Back in January we posted the above video from an Arnell/TBWA/PepsiCo press conference right before to the Super Bowl. Everyone at the gathering expected to learn about Pepsi’s Super Bowl Spots &#151 but before anything was said we were forced through a torturous presentation about the $35 million redesign. It was like being in history class on a sunny Friday at 2pm. More than a few people were miffed by Arnell’s trickery, but that’s OK because now it’s come full circle.

Anyway, says Arnell in a Times interview, “Tropicana is doing exactly what they should be doing (by reverting to the old look)”

“I’m incredibly surprised by the reaction,” but “I’m glad Tropicana is getting this kind of attention.”

Yeah, of course you are dude. But hey how about the part where your agency charged Tropicana $35 million for a redesign and campaign that are now totally fucking moot. Wait, not moot; damaging. The people must have their orange with protruding straw &#151 just like Arnell needs their bullshit sandwich table at lunchtime.

As for the campaign accompanying the redesign &#151 it’s staying. No word yet on if the redesigned carton will be replaced within the campaign. But um, we expect it should be.

This situation + the Pepsi PDF = priceless.

Full Story

More:What We Know About the Arnell Pepsi PDF

We Hear: Pepsi Paid More Than $10 Mil. For Logo Design


The rabbit hole, as they say, keeps getting deeper. Initial reporting put the estimated cost of Arnell’s redesign of the Pepsi logo at $1 million. But a source close to the matter informed AgencySpy today that Pepsi paid upwards of $10 million for the logo.

We recently showed you the PDF containing the Arnell’s “rationalization” of the piece. It provided insight into what they sold Pepsi, though we learned later that the logo was one of many (as it goes with logo design) that Peter Arnell was shown &#151 and he allegedly chose this one because it looks like a smile. Aww, that’s nice.

Our source would not go on the record, but was unwavering about the $10 million figure. We aren’t sure if that amount refers solely to the logo design or if it’s in reference to other work as well.


More:The Arnell Process: Create Logo, Fabricate ‘Gravity’ Story, Sell to Client