I came to understand the power of words when I was 10 years old.
This day at school, I was in Grade 5, our teacher announced a competition. Our brief was to design a poster about pool safety.
I sat down and came up with a headline: “Don’t let children near the pool. If you do you’re a fool”. Whilst everyone else was concerned with their pictures, instinct told me that words were the key.
I positioned the headline in block 3D letters in the top half of the page and included a drawing below. We all handed our finished posters in.
Later that year we were at assembly when the principal announced my name and asked me to stand up in front of the whole school.
I could feel my face burning bright red as the principal took an eternity to explain the details of the competition and how it was open to primary schools across Australia. She went on to announce that I had won 1st prize and a scholarship for $500.
The terror of a shy 10 year old boy with the entire school looking at him was now mixed with this highly-charged emotion that comes only with the thrill of such an achievement.
When I arrived home that night my dad was still at work. I showed my mum the certificate which was all I really cared about. I could see she was proud as she read the fine print.
When she realised my school fees for Grade 6 were paid for she let out this high-pitched joyful scream. The significance of my win suddenly hit home. Her reaction was one of my happiest childhood memories and proudest moments of my life.
That was the day I learnt the power of the written word. Using only my instincts, I had communicated a message that connected with the audience because it was honest, simple and powerful.
To this day, everything we do starts with the copy. Whether it’s a video, a website or a Google Ad the words are the most important element.