That’s pretty big. As anyone who’s spent time in the UK over the festive season knows, the John Lewis Christmas ad is something of an institution.
Fooling the internet is one thing, but now Nick Jablonka, the student who made the ad as part of his A-Level coursework, has been invited to go “behind the scenes” and see how the real thing is made.
“Nick is clearly very talented, we’d love to invite him to spend some time with us,” a John Lewis spokesperson told the BBC.
Jablonka meanwhile appears to have been completely overwhelmed by the sudden attention.
Jablonka is the latest in a long line of students to have been given opportunities after producing work inspired by a big brand. In 2013, for example, Microsoft hired Andrew Kim, a design student who presented a bold new concept for its brand.
But what career lessons can we learn from Jablonka and his ilk?
Put yourself out there
Jablonka had no reason to put his John Lewis tribute on YouTube. It was an assignment, he could’ve handed it in and been done with it.
In fact, he nearly did just that. “I wasn’t going to upload it at all,” he writes in the YouTube description.
If he’d stuck with that decision, the world would have one less viral sensation and Jablonka would never have gotten the chance to go behind the scenes on a John Lewis ad.
That applies equally to all of us. If you’re after a job, or just want to express admiration for a company, do it. You’re unlikely to lose anything by doing so and the gains are potentially massive.
Done is better than perfect
We’ve previously written about why it’s more important to get something than to ensure that it’s perfect. Jablonka’s video encapsulates that thesis really well.
The student believes that that he could’ve done much more with the video if he’d had a little more time. “This piece could do with a lot of work as it was done in around 2 weeks from start to finish,” he writes in the YouTube description.
If he’d obsessed over it, however, he may never have got around to uploading the finished product on YouTube. And if he’d done the extra work, would so many online viewers have been taken in by its charm?
Know the brand
While Jablonka’s ad and Kim’s designs are beautiful in their own right, the reason they work so well is because they clearly have a thorough understanding of the John Lewis and Microsoft brands.
That’s something everyone looking to grow in their career can learn from. It doesn’t matter whether you’re creating an eye-catching concept or putting together a job application, it pays to know the brand. Make yourself an expert, and you’ll get a lot further than the person waiting in line behind you.
While Jablonka put together the John Lewis video for an official assignment, it’s clear that he really enjoyed doing it and was proud of the work he put in.
It may sound like we’re basing that on intuition — no one produces good work when they’re doing something they hate — but there’s solid evidence for it. Apart from the fact that the young design student claims to have gotten “full marks” for the assignment the video is a part of, he’s been open to media enquiries and is frank about what shortcomings he thinks there are.
The last of these is particularly important as it shows that Jablonka cares about the wider craft more than the individual project.
Whether or not Jablonka’s behind-the-scenes with John Lewis ends up with him getting a job, one things clear: making one brave decision has drastically improved his career prospects.