As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia presents “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time.
This week we talk to Oscar Godsell, a copywriter at Digitas in Sydney.
Over the course of our conversation, he talks about how he got his first break in the industry, what he enjoys most about the work, as well as what he doesn’t like about it, and more.
Name: Oscar Godsell
Hometown: Geelong, Australia
Current Location: Sydney
Education: S P Jain School of Global Management, Bachelor in Business Administration (finance), 2019, and Deakin University, Master in Writing and Literature, 2021
How did you get your first break in the industry?
I actually did my undergraduate degree in finance and have been slowly weaseling my way into the creative industry ever since. It was while studying derivatives that I realized my thinking is more right-brain than left. So, I managed to talk my way into the six-week summer internship program at Publicis.
I remember in the first week doing some short-form writing for National Geographic and thinking, ‘This is so much better than exchange rates’. Although I knew nothing about advertising at the time, I was just super keen to impress my managers and learn more, which I think is why they offered me a role after graduating.
I stayed in the content team for almost two years but the more I learned about creative departments, the more I wanted to be a part of one. I applied for AWARD School, which is a globally recognized course for aspiring creatives, and was fortunate enough to win the NSW mentorship program. One of my mentors recommended a digital-focused role, suggesting Digitas.
When I found out they were hiring, it was almost too good to be true. I went straight to the Publicis talent team and told them I wanted to apply, and after meeting the Digitas team, I jumped at the chance – they’re so much fun and so talented
What is your personal mantra?
You could wake up dead tomorrow – there’s a lot we can learn from Homer Simpson.
From what person, place or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?
I think there are a lot of parallels between fiction or creative non-fiction writing and copywriting. For example, Don Quixote is a novel that can make readers laugh, cry, think, gasp and frown all in a single chapter, which is pretty much what copywriting aims to do – make readers pay attention and feel something.
I guess that’s why there are so many successful authors who’ve worked as copywriters: F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Patterson, Joseph Heller and Salmon Rushdie among others.
What do you love about the job?
I love that I get to be creative with words every day. Trying to bridge the gaps of human experience through a language that will never be enough is, to me, strangely fulfilling.
What about your job are you not so crazy about?
Client feedback? Of course, it’s totally necessary – but it would be extremely fun if there were no rules at all…
What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I’m proud of the writing I’ve been doing on the Tourism Australia x The Wiggles campaign. It’s been a really fun challenge trying to promote all-things travel to kids.
I’m also proud of the writing I did last year for Westpac Life Moments. I wrote and edited dozens of articles about managing life’s difficulties during covid (things like being made redundant, getting divorced and bereavement). It was challenging to respond to such dramatic events in such a short timeframe, but it made it a huge bonus that we won the Tech for Good award from the Global Business Tech Awards.
If you had to choose another career what would it be?
I think I’d be a dictionary editor. I met the chief editor at an English dictionary once and it was fascinating – although I had to pretend I knew all the sophisticated words he was casually using.