Over the past few years, Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo has created videos tackling a variety of well-known industry pain points, from spec work to the RFP process. Now, the agency is 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