Zulu Alpha Kilo stands out as a maverick global indie agency within the fiercely competitive advertising industry dominated by global holding companies.
Launched in 2008 by renowned Creative Director Zak Mroueh, the shop has built a reputation as an industry outlier and is one of the most respected independent agencies in the world. With 125 Zuligans in Toronto and another 30 at a partner agency in Montreal, the shop is a magnet for top global talent.
Staff are called “Zuligans” and the agency’s unique culture is passionate, entrepreneurial and fearless in its pursuit of groundbreaking ideas. On two occasions, Zulu has won top honors from Ad Age, as Small Agency of the Year and International Agency of the Year. The shop was also recently named one of Forbes Best Small Companies, a list launched from Bo Burlingham’s book, Small Giants: Companies that Choose to be Great Instead of Big.
Early on Zulu took a stance against spec creative pitches. The agency’s Say No To Spec film ignited a global conversation on the antiquated practice of spec pitches that has been around since the Mad Men era. AdWeek’s feature article on the film was the sixth most read article of the year and tenth most read of all-time.
The agency’s content production arm, Zulubot, has also set the shop apart from traditional competitors. The creative production playground is comprised of 9 edit suites, and audio recording suite and photography space. Zulubot’s team of creators, editors, AR/VR developers and producers bring ideas to life at lightning speed for clients.
Whether it’s building an entirely new brand platform, social content, advertising or an immersive digital experience, Zulu is a full service, next-generation agency with a track record of delivering breakthrough work and growth for brands. Over the past 10 years, Zulu has delivered impressive results for brands like Audi, Corona, Puma, Uber, Subaru, Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, Whirlpool and Tim Hortons to name a few.
Since our inception in 2008, Zulu’s success has been underpinned by an operating philosophy and a set of strong agency values that guide every decision we make. How are we different? One of our secret ingredients is not chasing growth for growth’s sake. We only align ourselves with clients where the chemistry and fit are strong. This is ultimately what leads to world-class work and true partnership. We’ve made a commitment to our clients to always remain focused on their business, hence we say no to approximately 80% of RFPs because of our no-spec policy. Most agencies routinely divert and spread thin their resources when working on pitches. It may sound radical, but it pays respect to our existing clients and that’s why they stay with us for the long haul.
Our operating philosophy can be summarized in these four beliefs:
GROWTH IS NOT THE END GAME
One of our secret ingredients is not chasing growth for growth’s sake. We’ve seen too many great agencies grow the wrong way, take their eye off the ball and lose what made them great in the first place. Zulu is driven to be great, not big.
HONESTY & STRAIGHTFORWARDNESS
A truly collaborative team is honest and straightforward with one another. We’re wired to be direct, so you always know where we stand. If we screw up, we raise our hand and tell you so. That builds trust with both staff and clients, and trust is the foundation for creating amazing work.
We don’t divide ourselves into departments. Instead, everyone at Zulu is part of a single company-wide creative group. Whether someone does finance, production, accounts, or strategy, at the end of the day our common goal is to be part of groundbreaking creative work.
Fortune favors the bold. Our creative and business success is anchored by challenging the status quo and established norms in pursuit of excellence. We embrace change and inspire our clients to move beyond their comfort zone.