Over the past few years, Toronto’s Zulu Alpha Kilo have created videos tackling a variety of well-known industry pain points, from spec work to the RFP process. Now, they’re taking on the subject of holding companies and what happens to an agency after being sold.
This year’s video, “Billy’s Lemonade,” tells the story of a young boy, who sells his thriving lemonade stand to a holding company from New York. The film offers a poignant glimpse into the downsides of losing your agency independence as Billy is forced to make a slew of compromises to his business. The holding company forces Billy to raise fees, switch to prepackaged lemonade powder and make cups 80% smaller. They even have him fire his sister, since “she doesn’t add value.” Eventually, all the compromises drive Billy’s clients away, business suffers and the holding company ousts Billy from his own lemonade stand.
In addition to being an entertaining satire about agencies and holding companies, the film is Zulu’s salute to all the other independent agencies out there. The message, “Here’s to all the independents” appears on screen at the end of the film, as Billy wins back his old clients by opening a new independent lemonade stand with his sister.
“Billy’s Lemonade” was unveiled at the Agency of the Year competition, an annual awards show hosted by strategy, Canada’s largest trade publication for the industry. Every year, the shortlisted agencies are asked to produce a video to debut at the gala night. Zulu has used the platform to call attention to issues that ail the industry in a very cheeky manner. The 2015 viral sensation Say No to Spec and last year’s World’s Worst RFP premiered at the same event.
The film was produced by Zulubot, written by the team of Michael Siegers and Jonah Flynn and directed by Zulu founder Zak Mroueh.
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
- Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
- Art Director: Michael Siegers
- Writer: Jonah Flynn
- Producer: Colleen Allen
- Account Team: Kayla MacDonald
- Production House: Zulubot
- Director: Zak Mroueh
- Director of Photography: Paul Steinberg
- Exec Producer: Tom Evans
- Editor: Jessie Posthumus
- Audio Mixer: Rob Morrice
- Casting Director: Jigsaw, Shasta Lutz
- Transfer: Alter Ego, Eric Whipp
- Audio: Dino Cuzzolino