In Conversation with Peter Arnell
Brand and design expert Peter Arnell has been at the forefront of creating, building, and transforming brands, corporations, institutions, and communities for more than 40 years. In engaging and informative moderated conversations, Arnell shares his unique interdisciplinary approach to creating holistic solutions that drive enduring brand value.
Collaborative Consultation with Peter Arnell
In this highly personalized program, legendary brand and design expert Peter Arnell will design a session that gets to the heart of your organization’s biggest questions. Drawing on his decades of experience with global brands, Arnell offers actionable, manageable, and convertible strategies that will make a major impact.
Brand and design expert Peter Arnell offers undeniable deliverables in personalized programs for a major impact
Known for his work with some of the world’s most prestigious companies, PETER ARNELL brings his boundary-breaking ideation to personalized sessions for groups of all kinds. Having transformed products, brands, and campaigns for Chrysler, Pepsi-Cola Co., Reebok, Donna Karan, Unilever, Fontainebleau and more, Arnell delivers highly customizable sessions that emphasize converting ideas into action without friction. The Founder, Chairman, and Chief Creative Officer of PETERARNELL, he has been creating influential brand strategies for decades, but his expertise is – as he describes it – industry agnostic. Resonating across sectors, Arnell’s inspiration to continue to evolve on a timeline of growth applies to every organization. Through his full sensory presentations and thoughtful consultations, he focuses on actionable, manageable, and convertible outcomes – balancing highly impactful insights with unexpected humor for a unique program.
Watch Peter Arnell on his brand identity creation for DKNY >>
Peter Arnell was born in Brooklyn, New York. He has spent his life studying and working in architecture, art, history, photography, design, technology, publishing, music and popular culture. He has built a long history of sincere, impactful contribution to corporations, institutions, communities and nations worldwide, bringing innovation, invention, design, brand, identity, experience, culture and the arts to the world through creativity and total enterprise development, platforms and execution to market.
Arnell studied art, architecture and architecture history at Columbia and Princeton. He worked for I.M. Pei as a studio assistant and later worked as a project architect for Michael Graves, working on Humana Corporation headquarters and Portland Public Service buildings.
He started his first company, Arnell Group, in New York City in 1979, as a boutique book publisher, writing, editing and designing architecture and art monographs on James Stirling, Aldo Rossi, Robert Venturi, Robert Stern, Charles Gwathmey, David Hockney and conceiving and writing the first publication on Frank Gehry, which led to a lifelong working collaboration with Frank Gehry including projects such as the Brooklyn Arena, the Sentosa resort and aquarium, and many others where he collaborated on concept, experience, wayfinding and design.
Arnell’s company evolved into a design, brand and product innovation firm, specializing in building unique and proprietary intellectual property and assets. Arnell remained at the helm as Chairman and Chief Creative Officer after selling to Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) in 2001.
Arnell has played a significant role in creating the platforms, products and marketing strategies for many leading brands all over the world. From his earliest days, Arnell has created unique, ground-breaking work, like his strategy, brand concept and creative for Donna Karan New York, featuring artful black and white photographs without product, which the press lauded as the most successful fashion launch ever, and the complete concept for DKNY, the first designer second line conceived as a different side of the same woman, rather than an inexpensive fabrication of the main line, revolutionizing the fashion industry. Arnell created 360-degree branding that changed the industry with impactful product design, identity design, communications and retail design. DKNY was sold in 2000 for $1.6B.
He contributed and collaborated with Samsung in Korea on the introduction of the company as a consumer-facing brand, transitioning the company from an OEM sourcing corporation to a household brand name. He introduced aesthetic product design through the creation of a design school placed inside Samsung headquarters, in collaboration with Art Center. He spearheaded the company into the entertainment business by leading the investment into the Dreamworks startup with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg and ultimately worked to develop an independent entity called CJ entertainment which became Korea’s largest entertainment content business. He developed and built the original strategies for Samsung’s entry into the mobile phone business partnering with Sprint PCS and developed the brand strategy for the Any Call product, which was the incubation and founding product of what became the world’s largest maker of mobile phones worldwide. He developed and created the first global campaign strategy and memorable branding with "Simply Samsung" among other Samsung key communications endeavors such as “Digitall. Everyone’s Invited”, and pioneered a new media for the brand by creating the first-ever large scale outdoor spectaculars in New York City, covering the sides of multi-storied buildings with iconic imagery.
He pioneered plot-based product integration for the entertainment industry when he masterminded the highly acclaimed Tina Turner Hanes collaboration, the first fully- integrated brand and entertainment alliance, which included not only cross- promotions from both Tina’s album and Hanes Hosiery, but also a significant philanthropic component spearheaded by Oprah Winfrey. For Progressive Insurance, he created an imaginative campaign featuring E.T., highlighted by a Super Bowl ad with NASA astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell. He made Ray-Bans cool again when Men In Black’s Will Smith famously stated, “I make this look good.”
For Chanel #5, which had become a mass brand distributed in drugstores, he restored the brand’s former luxury image through unique communications including never-before-seen technology bringing Marilyn Monroe back to life in the television commercial, increasing sales by 55%. He then went on to create the new fragrance brand and identity for Chanel’s Allure. He designed and created the Global Identity and packaging identity for Pepsi brand, and re-engineered their entire portfolio identity system. After the launch of the new brand mark, Pepsi’s stock steadily climbed from $45 to over $95.
Arnell has created some of the most recognizable and successful re-branding and re-engineering of the world’s most powerful brands. He repositioned Banana Republic from a niche retail boutique to the ubiquitous Gap-owned brand we know today. He redesigned the entire identity and retail experience for Bank of America worldwide. For Yum! / KFC, he invented and designed future stores including KFC AM, and for Yum!/Pizza Hut, he created the store concept, brand and strategy for Pizza Hut Delivered. For McDonalds, he developed the strategy, retail experience and packaging for the “I’m Loving It” campaign. He developed luxury products and redesigned all branding, identity and retail experience for Mikimoto. He conceptualized and designed the complete redo of Kmart stores with a built-out prototype store in Michigan. He invented the Zino Platinum cigar brand for Davidoff to appeal to a modern, urban market. He worked with Guggenheim Museum as senior consultant on the development of the museum worldwide as well as collaborated on many exhibitions including the famed and highly acclaimed "Art of the Motorcycle" show. For Masterfoods, he created a new healthy snack brand in conjunction with Muhammad Ali, called G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time), and was presented by President Clinton as a prime example of what his health initiative hoped to achieve at the press launch of the program.
He headed up branding and communications at Reebok, in charge of all NFL, NHL and NBA gear, and created the Yao Ming line. He invented the Rbk brand for Reebok, uniquely linking music and sports for the first time in a commercial brand, and, by bringing back the sports industry’s crucial young male audience, spearheaded the turn-around of the athletic company, enabling its sale to Adidas for $3.8B.
Arnell’s attention-grabbing branding, communications and store experience redesign for GNC, the world’s top sports nutrition retailer, helped that company come out as the top IPO of 2011, entering the market at $16 per share and rising to $60, more than doubling its market cap from $2B to $4.33B during his tenure as head of brand.
In a joint innovation venture with The Home Depot where he also held the position of Chief Innovation Officer within The Home Depot organization, he was in charge of all product innovation and product creation for the company, setting up OrangeWorks to create house brands. One such project he invented is the HomeHero line of home safety products, winner of a Gold IDEA from Business Week and several other design awards. The premier product, the HomeHero fire extinguisher and wirelessly connected smoke/CO alarm, paved the way for the interactive home industry.
As Chief Innovation Officer of Chrysler and a founding director of Peapod Mobility, he led all electric vehicle development under Bob Nardelli and designed the revolutionary Peapod Neighborhood Electric Vehicle, merchandise and marketing communications. Arnell fast-tracked the design and production of Peapod in just 8 months to lead Chrysler’s Electric Platform. Peapod was presented by Arnell and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the State of California as part of their electric vehicle initiative. For Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep, Arnell created an integrated experiential Big Box strategy and launched the worldwide rollout to dealerships, as well as designed the Geneva car show exhibition experience for each brand.
In 2011, he founded Intellectual Capital Investments, (ICI) in New York City.
While Arnell continues his mission to help corporations maximize their value, he also seeks to combine his love of brand and product innovation with his love of helping people and communities in the world. For Haiti, he contributed by creating the identity and graphics to drive fundraising for the relief effort after the disaster.
For Thailand, he helped build a significant commercial business and economic growth platform by bringing product design-led innovation, technology and distribution to the many gifted and industrious artisans throughout the country through a platform he created called ThaiWorks. Bringing innovation and new skills to talented artisans, enabling them to make world-quality product, and creating an engaging e-commerce platform and distribution pathway to set up sustainable, new revenue streams for the people of Thailand.
Arnell was appointed acting Chief Creative officer at BlackBerry Limited, leading global brand and communications. Recently, Arnell joined Veon to re-engineer the brand and transition the company from mobile carrier to technology platform.
Arnell served for over a decade on the Board of the Special Olympics, creating the communications campaign “A World Without” and designing the Mobius stadium for the Singapore Games, where he was very proud to walk in the opening ceremonies. He was a senior ambassador with the Special Olympics at the opening ceremonies in Shanghai along with President Clinton.
In addition, Arnell has been honored to donate his time and communications prowess to help messages resonate for such organizations as DIFFA, Hale House, the New York Police Department, New York commission on Domestic Violence for NYPD Police Commissioner Howard Safir, Fire Zone education foundation, leading fire safety education communications and the Fire Department of New York assisting families during the aftermath of 9/11 under Commissioner Thomas Von Essen. After 9/11, Arnell designed the identity graphics for the fund-raising to help the families of the victims, and designed the Tribute Museum’s identity and exhibit to commemorate its heroes. Arnell served as senior communications consultant to the Mayor Giuliani administration.
His professional awards include the now coveted, first-ever Council of Fashion Designers of America Award of Excellence in Branding and Communications in 1987, Gold and Silver International Design Excellence Awards in 2007, the Cannes Gold Lion for Best in Category in 2003. He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Board appointments include Dreamworks, Special Olympics, Savannah College of Art and Design and The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Arnell published his own memoirs and business and life lessons, in his New York Times Bestseller, SHIFT, in 2010. Arnell lives with his wife and daughter in New York City and Rome.