Zulu Alpha Kilo wants to scare young ad execs straight, with its newest recruiting video

Ads, Creativity

Toronto based agency Zulu Alpha Kilo released the most terrifying (and hilarious) recruiting video, called Scared Straight Out of Advertising. Geared towards wide-eyed ad students entering the work force, this hilarious video is meant to scare them straight out of a career in the business.

Toronto-based independent Zulu Alpha Kilo, winner of Ad Age’s international small agency of the year in 2017 produced it for Canada’s hotly contested Strategy Magazine’s Agency of the Year Competition. As part of the award show ceremony, shortlisted agencies are asked to create a short video for their agency.  Creating a self-promo video for the event has become something of an annual tradition and an unofficial competition in itself, with top Canadian agencies all vying to have the best video of the night.

Zulu’s “Scared Straight: Out of Advertising” shows a group of optimistic—if perhaps overly smug—advertising students visiting a real agency for a day. In the place of hardened criminals scaring juvenile offenders out of a life of crime, two hard-boiled Executive Creative Directors go over just about every reason why advertising is a terrible life path.

The video is jam-packed with just about every joke and insight you can make about the ad industry—from everyone wearing all black “uniforms,” to the unrealistic expectations of new grads, to the long hours—not to mention the industry’s obsession with awards. The agency even takes yet another shot at spec creative work—Zulu famously created the “Say no to Spec” campaign around the same time two years ago.

With the agency looking to fill 14 new positions, it is likely the message of the video is in jest—or at the very least is meant to ensure new grads know exactly what they’re getting into. Earlier this year, Zulu Alpha Kilo launched The “$40k A Year Employeeship”, an initiative that gives any soon to be or recent graduate seeking an internship as an Art Director, Designer, or Copywriter, the chance to forgo an internship all together. Zulu believes this new program will help attract the brightest young talent to the agency without all the ambiguities that come with an internship.

The video was produced in-house by the agency’s production arm zulubot and directed by agency founder and CCO Zak Mroueh.


Agency:  Zulu Alpha Kilo

Creative Director:  Zak Mroueh

Art Director:  Brendan McMullen

Writer:  Jacob Pacey

Agency Producer:  Revital Grunberg

Account Team:  Matt Sinuita

Social Media: Sean Bell

Production House:  zulubot

Director:  Zak Mroueh

Production House Producer: David “Grover” Cosgrove / Marc Milliard

Director of Photography:  Rob Dutchin

Second Camera: Stefan MacDonald Labelle

Casting Director:  Shasta Lutz, Jigsaw Casting

Video Post Facility / Editing Company:  zulubot

Editor:  Jay Baker / Marissa Bergougnou

Compositor / Online:  Marissa Bergougnou

Colourist/Transfer:  Wade Odlum, Alter Ego

Audio Post Facility/Music House:  zulubot

Engineer:  Stephen Stepanic

Actors: Karen Parker, Nigel Downer, Allison Price, Kyle Lucey, Caroline Toal, Gavin Pounds, Aris Tyros, Amanda McKnight, Brennan Asbridge