With an 85-second A Level Media Studies project, 18-year-old Nick Jablonka has become an overnight viral sensation capturing the hearts and minds of the British public with his tale of a lonely snowman kept apart from his girlfriend. Entitled John Lewis Christmas Advert' 2016 - The Snowglobe, thousands were convinced that Nick's emotive story was the department store's official Christmas ad. Nick was able to replicate what advertising agencies are paid billions by brands to do. It was for this reason that my first thought upon seeing Nick's work was "we need to hire him."
Nick's age, educational achievements and experience didn't factor into the decision to reach out and offer him a role at W. At aged 17 with no agency training, Nick has demonstrated enviable raw talent and an innate understanding of how to create content that helps consumers build an emotional connection with a brand. This is a skill that makes Nick incredibly desirable to any marketing agency.
Nick's story offers the marketing industry a clear and simple lesson; that the best creative talent can come from absolutely anywhere and agencies need to act fast to land them.
We hear a lot about the need for greater diversity, especially within the PR and advertising industries. However, at W, we've embraced an understanding of diversity that is not just skin deep. For us, it's about cultivating a work environment that welcomes people from all walks of life, backgrounds, ages and levels of education. We pride ourselves on this 'open-to-everyone' approach, where our requirement is merely raw talent, boundless enthusiasm and hard work. We don't have a graduate programme because we don't believe in it. Our talent intake happens throughout the year, not just around the graduation schedule. Indeed, three out of six of our senior management team do not have a degree. We believe in empowering smart people, whatever their qualifications or background to take responsibility and succeed. Our talent strategy is just that - about talent. Nick's story has proved just how critical this open-minded approach is. Nick's job offer is open to him whether he chooses to complete his degree or not, whether he's aged 18 or 21.
What's more is that like most creative agencies, we spend a long time talking incessantly about 'millenials' and a brainstorm is rarely complete without a discussion around 'Generation Z'. How can companies claim to truly understand this demographic and what's relevant to them when they have none in their work force!
In an increasingly competitive landscape, the creative industry needs to adopt a more inclusive mindset, otherwise they run the risk of not discovering the stars of tomorrow. Nick's story highlights a need for agencies to rethink their recruitment strategy - from the types of people they are looking for, through to the challenges they set them during the hiring process. Perhaps, if we set tasks for those wanting to join our creative content team that mirrors Nick's A-level assignment then arguably we'd unearth other inspiring young individuals we simply have to hire.