Thailand, Toyota and Obama: Peter Arnell Wants to Help

Adman Talks Big to 'The Nation'

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Peter Arnell is taking on Thailand and, eventually, maybe Toyota.

Peter Arnell
Peter Arnell
The design guru, who caught plenty of flack for his redesigns of Pepsi products, which included the infamous Tropicana repackaging, has set his sights on Thailand. Mr. Arnell plans to present a promotional campaign to the government this week, according to The Nation. It's just his way of giving back, after becoming smitten with the country during a 12-day visit in December.

He tells the magazine that he believes he can "make this place famous for what it's famous for, instead of what we think it's famous for." All of which sounds somewhat familiar.

The country "is a sensible, harmonious, calm, peaceful and respectful country driven by humanity and a soulfulness, unlike any other place in the world," he says. (It is a beautiful, unique place unlike any other. And the advertising there is hilariously weird. But Arnell must have missed all that news coverage about the corrupt government, the economy-crippling protests, the separatists in the southern part of the country and other woes over the past few years.)

Arnell also wanted to refocus Tropicana's consumers on the juice, rather than the orange. And we all know how well that went.

For the record, Arnell tells the publication the Tropicana repackaging failure was a result of the country's mood, not the design. "It came at a time when the economy was crashing, we had a new president -- it was held up as a symbol of, you know, 'Why now?' I can't imagine a goddamn container of oranges getting more attention worldwide. It was incredible."

Mr. Arnell goes on to say that Thailand is in need of a symbol, a la Switzerland's cross or Canada's maple leaf. (Hmmm. There might be a hint on a bottle of Chang beer.) It's not clear whether the Thai government is interested in bringing Arnell onboard.

But, if they pass, it looks like others should prepare themselves to be enlightened. Apparently, he's got advice for President Obama, as well as Toyota. "The Nation" says Arnell "swears he could single-handedly redeem" the ailing auto brand. Big talk from the guy with a less-than-stellar record at Chrysler.