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Interview with Ray Black, founder of Copy School

Copy School is designed to encourage the best quality copywriting across all channels and engages some of Australia’s leading advertising creative directors and copywriters, as well as news media executives, to pass on their knowledge and experience.

In Sydney, this year’s convenor is Ray Black, the founder of Copy School, and has been a highly respected leader in the advertising industry for many years. He holds an Order of Australia medal for services to the advertising industry.  

We asked Ray to let us hear his thoughts on the industry and his passion for producing great content.  


Why do you support Copy School? 

Because there is a great need for aspiring copywriters and there is no worthwhile tuition out there for themso talk to the most successful copywriters and ask them to pass on their knowledge and experience as tutors. 

Do you believe there is currently enough focus on copy from clients and agencies?  

At the moment no, but there is a need for communicating to the client the value of top copywriting; the results should be self-evident 

What would your number one piece of advice be for writing great copy?   

Appeal to the heart not the head. 

If you had to pick one ad that you had worked on, that you were most proud of, what would it be and why?  

The ‘quit for life’ anti-smoking ad with the squeezing of a sponge to show tar in the lung. It was a dramatic example emotively appealing; to show the effect of smoking on your lungs – it saved lives and it had a measurable effect 

Another was an anti-smoking ad showing a grandmother suffering from throat cancer. This was done as an unscripted interview, and I think that’s why it was so effective. The saddest thing was when she said that what she missed the most was singing to her grandchildren. It was powerful and is a real nod to that idea of appealing to the heart rather than the hear. 

What is your all-time favourite print ad?  

It was one to promote newspapers- a recreated photo of Moses holding one of the ten commandment tablets. The headline was “people who know the power of words put them in print” 



(Image: The Newspaper Advertising Bureau of Australia, Metro Magazine: Media & Education Magazine, No. 60, Summer 1983)  

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