Zulu Alpha Kilo is a highly regarded independent owned and run by admired creative director Zak Mroueh. He launched the agency in 2008 after a nine year stint as the top creative at Taxi. He was widely credited with putting that agency on the map as a creative force before his departure in 2007. Intended at first to be little more than a boutique agency, ZAK has expanded considerably as a result of major account wins including Bell and Audi. Controversially, it resigned the Coca-Cola account after four years in 2014, on the grounds that it wasn't the right fit. The agency determinedly works against the grain of the wider industry. It maintains a strictly limited client list and refuses to promote itself along traditional lines. Instead ZAK has adopted a position as a sort of tongue-in-cheek spokesman for the industry as a whole, launching a series of campaigns mocking the less acceptable aspects of the business, for example, in a widely admired move, those clients who demand "on spec" creative work for free. The agency also bans all internal emails outside working hours, and its reception area features an ongoing painting first started by Mroueh in 2008 to which all staff and visitors are invited to contribute. It has been a work in progress for 10 years. (Even even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has left his mark on it). The agency's website is also a deliberate parody of traditional ad industry sites, including fake profiles of supposed principals Frank Zulu, Katherine Kilo and Marcus Alpha. (Mike Sutton is the real president of the agency, alongside CEO & CCO Mroueh). Branded content unit Zulubot launched in 2014, and is responsible for much of this satirical content. In 2017, Ad Age selected ZAK as its International Small Agency of the Year for the second consecutive year, and in 2018 the agency was named as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies by Canadian Business magazine. Adbrands does not currently profile Zulu Alpha Kilo but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information for the agency. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
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Who are the competitors of Zulu Alpha Kilo? See ranking of Canada's Leading Advertising Agencies
Capsule checked 15th August 2018
Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Social Media 30th Mar 2018: "Coffee with Neighbours". How well do you know *your* neighbour? For Canada's leading coffee shop chain Tim Hortons, agency Zulu Alpha Kilo invited random householders to come have a coffee with a neighbour they'd never met before. Inevitably, it's all a bit awkward to start with, but then everyone ends up being the best of pals. That's a big positive, especially in a neighbourhood like this one where everyone comes from different racial or national backgrounds. It's a sweet, and commendable, idea. We should all try it.
Adbrands Weekly Update 26th May 2016: Ads of the Week: "The Surprise". Here's a lovely little film from Canadian independent Zulu Alpha Kilo for financial services client Interac. It's beautifully observed - I think we all know what this kid is going through - and the final surprise is a real charmer. Even if it just proves that, actually, parents don't actually understand their children at all!
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