photos by Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University
A gleaming red and brown 1967 VW Microbus pulled up to the corner of 13th Street and Pollet Walk on Main Campus April 11, filled with a year’s supply of Peanut Chews — and former Philadelphia Eagle Ron Jaworski.
It was a moment in the spotlight for sophomore advertising major Andrew Arbitell, who won the Peanut Chews billboard writing contest. Throughout April, his winning headine, “Enjoyed when the Rocky steps were just steps” will tower over I-95 near the Cottman Avenue exit.
It’s a pretty good way to begin building a portfolio, not to mention the kudos he received from Jaws.
“I’m blown away. What a brilliant young man.” Jaworski said. “It’s so cool that he’s a local guy and a Temple student.”
Arbitell, 20, of Phoenixville, Pa., learned of the contest in Assistant Professor Joe Glennon’s “Intro to Copywriting” class. He explained a few details, encouraged his students to enter and then moved on with his lecture. “Immediately after he said it, I couldn’t keep my mind off the competition. I started writing down different ideas.”
Part of the campaign
He landed upon a headline that fit right into the Peanut Chews advertising campaign.
“I realized that they’re trying to convey that they’ve been around throughout the history of Philadelphia, they’ve always been here and Philadelphians have enjoyed them now and in the past,” Arbitell says of the candy, which has been produced in Northeast Philadelphia since 1917. “Rocky is an iconic Philadelphia figure. I thought the steps were such a big part of Philadelphia’s culture and history that I had to write something based on them.”
Glennon says his student did a great job of staying on message, but not rocking the creative boat.
“Growing up near Philly sure helped him. Nostalgia is a very personal thing, hard to fake,” Glennon says. “As a Boston native, I couldn’t pull it off without being or feeling disingenuous. To me, the Rocky steps are the Rocky steps and have been since 1976.”
Arbitell first came to Temple and a film major, but caught the advertising bug during his first semester in an “Intro to Advertising” class.
Glennon is excited that Arbitell got to see the creative process in action.
“One of the most rewarding parts of advertising is seeing your work produced in a short amount of time,” he says. “Writers in other fields can slave away from years and never see their work printed or produced. Just ask any writer with a drawer full of screenplays or manuscripts.”
Arbitell says he’ll share some with his winnings with friends and family and wants to donate the rest.
“Living in Philadelphia these past two years, the city itself has been good to me. So, why not be good back to it? I figured what a better way to donate a candy that’s made in Philadelphia to Philadelphia,” he says.