HOUMA, La. (AP) _ The subtle commands sprinkled through Jason Loupe's essay on ''The Power of Subliminal Messages'' might very well have helped the youngster win a state writing contest.

The high school senior's 250-word essay told how advertisers use hidden messages to influence consumers. Printed in tiny letters at 13 locations within the work was the message: ''Give this essay first place.''

''Jason had that little gimmick in there, which I think the judges went for,'' said Loupe's English teacher, Raphael Songe. ''Everything else being just about equal, I think it gave him the edge.''

''When I entered the contest, everybody said we should write something that would intrigue the judges and add a little twist to make it something special,'' said Loupe. ''I thank that little twist is what did it.''

Loupe got a typewriter for finishing first among 10,000 students from 47 public schools.