DMA Future Writers' Labs - who's in the beta class?

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DMA Future Writers' Labs - who's in the beta class?


To get to know the writers in the beta class of the DMA Future Writers’ Lab, Writer in Residence, Debi Bester, gave them a challenge.

Sell the writer next to you.

Not to an agency. Not to a client. But rather to the DMA, in a nomination for an imaginary DMA Copywiters’ Hall of Fame in 2020.

To write their nomination, each writer had to do what every good copywriter should have time to do when we take on a brief: avoid the urge to put pen to paper, but rather start by interviewing, discovering and exploring their subject. Why? To find an interesting, compelling and contagious human story that sells.

30 minutes after being briefed, here’s what each writer read to their colleague seated beside them …


Louisa Shackleton is hungry.

She’s been hungry for words since she uttered her first one – a perfectly formed, but perfectly firm ‘no’ – at just 9 months old.

And she’s devoured quite a few more since then.

She started by consuming all the words contained within the walls of her school library. When she’d had her fill there, she moved on to the public library in her home town, feasting on the words of Anna Sewell, Kate Atkinson, Wilkie Collins, John Le Carre.

When she was through feasting on English words, she moved on to French and German ones at Cambridge.

Five years on from there and her hunger for words hasn’t dissipated.

But she’s not greedy. She’s now sharing her words with a bunch of brave clients, and giving consumers an appetite for brands they never knew they had.

So, if there’s one thing Louisa’s taught us, it’s that hunger is good.

Stay hungry.

LISA MORRIS (by Liz Stephenson)

The Smell of Success - How Lisa Morris flourished from grad student to the biggest selling children’s author of our time.

They say boredom is the curse of the idol, but for Lisa, it’s when inspiration bubbles. And it was on one tiresome journey that Percy, the aquaphobic pirate first came to life. Feared by none, tolerated by some; we follow Percy’s quest for terra firma through enchanted seas and undiscovered oceans.

Now five years on and with four bestsellers to her name, Lisa’s prowess for capturing the imagination of her eager audience has led her to her rightful place on the DMA 2020 Hall of Fame.

KATE ENRIGHT (by Daniel David)

1988. Born to a man whose name means son of a bandit, and a woman descended from criminals. Naturally, she’s Australian.

1990. Learns how to write.

1991. Learns how to read.

1995. Reads something that forever changes her view of the universe. Writes about it.

2005. Dances. Writes about it.

2007. Studies film and theatre. Writes about that.

2009. Becomes a freelance journalist, and when’s she’s not writing for her job, she’s writing about writing for her job.

2015. Cardioke. That’s like cardio mixed with karaoke. She hasn’t done it yet, but she’ll probably write about it.

Because whatever Kate does, she writes about it. And rewrites about it.

Probably the only thing Kate won’t write about is being inducted into the DMA Hall of Fame. (She’s too modest.) But trust me – you’ll read about it.

DANIEL DAVID (by Kate Enright)

Spineless and non-existent. Two phrases to welcome Daniel "two first names" David to the hall of fame. Spineless. Because he'll be the squidly-didly of copywriting. A squidly-didly is just like an octopus except it's imaginary. He's full of ink. Plus he's planning to have six human arms attached to his body. Non-existent. Because his copy feels like your own thought. The man's a genius. Now, let's all imagine we're five years older and Daniel has surpassed us all in our careers. Well done Daniel.

BROOKE CUTMORE (by Emma Moreton)

Teachers said she was no good.

Now she writes for Rolls Royce.

Brooke loved writing at school, but teachers only focused on her spelling mistakes and crushed her passion. Nevertheless, Brooke had inherited the creative gene, and creativity cant be supressed (her dad is a builder-come-songwriter with links to Eurovision). Following a short spell marketing a local bowling alley she realised spelling didn’t matter in the digital world of spellcheck and autocorrect. Determined, she started university in her 20s and graduated in creative advertising, nailed her first job in an agency and is now copywriting for Rolls Royce, Now TV and Santander. Just like her copy style, Brooke is fun, fresh and captivating… and probably a pretty good songwriter.

EMMA MORETON (by Brooke Cutmore)

A Natural Talent For Perfecting Words

When words stand out of the page for the wrong reasons, Emma Moreton has the skills and the confidence to challenge what’s written – by writing it better.

She has the ability to use the right words, at the right time.

And for Emma, the right time is now.

Because when Emma suddenly realised she could write, edit and re-write other’s words better than they could, I’ve realised that she probably could’ve written this better herself.

OLLY BARTER (by Alison Greeves)

Olly Barter: the creative to follow

From scriptwriting to social, Olly Barter has always had a love for the creative arts.

He started out working the 9-5 in an IT job, but spent his weekends and evenings freelancing. That's when he had the chance to do what he loved best – writing.

He soon landed a job as Lifestyle Editor for an in-flight magazine. While he enjoyed the journey, it wasn’t long before he took a return ticket back to freelancing. Since then, he's never looked back and has worked as a copywriter for lots of big brands.

He’s always had a passion for Harry Potter style fantasy fiction and he's now working on his first children's story.

Who knows where this rising talent could go next?

Wherever it is, it's sure to be an adventure.

VICKY MURFITT (by Emma Cummins)

Vicki never planned to be a writer. She loved learning about law at college and was planning a career as a lawyer, when something profound happened to her – and Mel Gibson.

One evening, when she was about 18, Vicki sat down to watch the film What Women Want. Little did she know how much this decision would change her life.

In the film, Mel Gibson trips over in the bath and when he wakes up, he thinks like a woman. All of a sudden, Vicki knew what she wanted to do with her life – she wanted to get inside other people’s heads.

Since her ‘tripping over in the bath’ moment over eight years ago, Vicki has made a living out of thinking like other people. As a copywriter, she imagines what other people want and gives it to them through her words.

People will remember Vicki’s copy in 2020 because it got under their skin. It made them smile, laugh and slowly nod their heads in recognition. Vicki’s copy speaks to people. More than anything, it’s empathetic. And it’s fun to read, too.

Vicki will be in the copywriter’s hall of fame in years to come, and she has Mel Gibson to thank. If he hadn’t tripped over in the bath and began to think like a woman, brands such as Honda, Rolls Royce and The Sun may not be where they are today. So thank you Mel Gibson, for giving us one of the world’s most empathetic copywriters. Someone who can get inside our heads, without giving us head injuries.


Leigh Renders doesn't think of what he does as writing. But it is.

Impact comes in two forms.

There is immediate impact, like you find in a shop window or an ad, bright and bold.

Then, there is a subtler form.

This is to change the minds of those that sit in power, and make a real difference.

LIZ STEPHENSON (by Lisa Morris)

Liz Stephenson started out writing as a way to self-promote, but had her sights set on bigger things.

By reinventing the face of fashion journalism she challenges perspectives proving fashion is not a shallow industry. She delves deeply into the history of each collection. To Liz, clothes are not just one-size-fits-all; instead they are garments sewn together with culture in their seams.

HELEN RODGERSON (by Myra Appannah)

Driven by a sense of duty,

Compelled by her humanity,

Helen wants to


Taking brands from status symbols,

to symbols of the community.

Taking social responsibility out,

of annual reports and into social media.

Using her position as a copywriter,

Helen wants to set up a content division.

A Corporate Social Responsibility content division.

Its purpose? To change the world.

Is a Hall of Fame nomination worthy?

ED OWEN (by Myra Jenn Torry)

'A modern day Tin-Tin'

I hereby nominate Ed Owen for the DMA 2020 Hall of Fame.

Ed is driven by his passion

to reveal the truth with words.

No matter what the consequence.

Is he frightened by political backlash? No!

Is he intimidated by the categorically complex? No!

Does he bat an eyelash when threatened with legal action? Not a chance.

Ed is a words warrior

who believes in the power of his pen.

He's trodden the trials and tribulations of a career in journalism,

catapulted into creative copywriting

and even writes mental narratives as he cycles to work.

A true writer has no fear,

pursues their curious impulses

and never stops writing.

When asked who inspired him to become a writer,

he responded, 'Well Tin-Tin, my childhood hero.'

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