You may not know Peter Arnell, but you know his work. The crazy Pepsi-is-the-center-of-the-universe logo design! The awful failure of the new Tropicana design! But what's the man himself like? Massively insecure, of course:
Newsweek profiles Arnell in this week's issue, and apparently he spent all his time staging elaborate spectacles for the benefit of the reporter, who must be made to understand how important Peter Arnell is:
There's a phone call with someone named Jay. Arnell puts the call on speakerphone. In case I don't recognize the voice, he stage-whispers to me, "It's Jay Leno." Afterward, he calls Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Entertainment, and Rudy Giuliani, but can't get them on the phone.
Also, how bizarre:
He owns 1,600 pairs of eyeglasses, all fitted with his prescription...Having done advertising work for the New York Fire Department, he's managed to get a fire-department badge and radio, and has outfitted his Jeep Commander with flashing lights. Two former business associates, who requested anonymity to avoid damaging their relationship with Arnell, say Arnell carried a handgun in an ankle holster. (Arnell acknowledges only having a gun permit and says stories of him carrying it at work are "inaccurate.") He also carries a Sony digital camera, and he snaps pictures constantly-75,000 in the past 12 months. An assistant uploads and catalogs them. Arnell devours oranges, about 20 a day, which turn his hands yellow. When he's done with one bowl, an assistant whisks away the peels and brings in another.
This person recalls Arnell humiliating employees by making them get down and do push-ups in front of clients. "He is unencumbered with any sense of morality. Until you experience it firsthand, it's just completely and utterly unfathomable."