Zulu Alpha Kilo wins U.S. Ad Age’s 2016 Small Agency of the Year worldwide honor

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After eight years in business, Zulu Alpha Kilo has reached a new milestone: international recognition from Advertising Age, a leading global source of news and intelligence for the marketing and media community.  In competition with over 270 independent agencies worldwide, Toronto-based firm wins the top honour in the world.  In the words of Ad Age it was Zulu’s “stunning work for its clients”, fearless spirit and “Say No To Spec” thought leadership that won over the judges. It’s the first time in the history of the show that a non-U.S. agency wins Agency of the year.

At the awards in Miami last Wednesday, Zulu was announced as the 2016 overall agency of the year Gold Medal winner at Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year awards. The Ad Age Small Agency Awards goes to independent agencies with up to 150 employees that have demonstrated smart strategies and innovative ideas for clients.

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Zulu was recognized for the outstanding metrics of its client work, including the Cineplex ad “Lily and the Snowman”– which has over 30 million views on social media – and a campaign for ParticipACTION that turned discarded sports balls into sad emoji faces.

Zulu was also recognized for its long running Interac “Be in the Black” platform for Interac. Executions included the branded content film “Pets with credit: A dogumentary” and the “Toy Store” cinema/TV spot which showed toys singing “debt, debt, debt” to the tune of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” when a shopper decides to pay with credit.


Beyond submitting three campaigns, agencies have to demonstrate thought leadership within the industry. Zulu was recognized for paving the way for the industry with its #Say No To Spec operating philosophy which challenges clients and other agencies globally to rethink the practice. The judges were also impressed with its radical approach to business, including their website which features fictitious founders and pokes fun at the industry.

This recognition proves without a doubt that amazing work does not only come from large agencies, and that the caliber of creative from small shops is rising every year (…) We had a flood of really excellent entries from many corners of the world and the judging was extremely difficult.

Ken Wheaton

Ad Age Editor

We’re thrilled with this global recognition from Ad Age (…) We share this honour with our amazing clients who have entrusted us with producing great campaigns and content for their brands.  Having premium clients who value true partnership has enabled us to flourish while remaining true to our core values.

 Zak Mroueh

Chief Creative Officer/Founder Zulu Alpha Kilo

Zak launched Zulu in 2008. Prior to Zulu, Mroueh had established himself as one of the most awarded creatives globally after working at Chiat/Day, BBDO and leading his previous shop Taxi onto the Gunn Report’s rankings of the world’s most awarded agencies, with two campaigns among the Top 5.

Since opening its doors in 2008, Zulu has grown each year despite not participating in over 80% of the pitches they’re invited to. Zulu now has 85 full-time “Zuligans” employed at the agency. Its client roster includes big brands such as Audi Canada, Bell, Cineplex, Corona & Modelo Especial, Harley-Davidson, Interac and ParticipACTION plus numerous project-based assignments.

In the past year, Zulu has secured seven new clients, won International awards for its work and has been profiled in the March/April annual of the prestigious Communication Arts magazine, one of the few Canadian agencies ever to be featured.

Advertising Age is the leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for the marketing and media community. Ongoing, in-depth coverage of CMO Strategy, brand leadership, digital, social media, mobile, data-driven marketing and more is complemented by breaking news. The 86-year-old media brand also produces industry rankings including the 200 Leading National Advertisers report, Agency A-List and the annual Agency Report.