Zulu Alpha Kilo Aims to End the Scourge of Spec Work

By Patrick Coffee 

Creatives can pretty much all agree that the RFP/spec work process is both ridiculous and firmly embedded in the client/agency equation.

This summer, Adweek ran a piece on the pros and cons of making stuff for free. To follow that storyline, Zulu Alpha Kilo of Toronto made a spot for Strategy Online’s recent Agency of the Year awards show demonstrating exactly how insane it would be for any other business to insist on reviewing the (completed) work of its service providers before deciding whether to pay them for it.

As our totally relatable antagonist puts it, “We’ll see how I like the finished product, then maybe I’ll pay for the build. Sound good?” The answer doesn’t really matter, because he has other partners that will do it for free!

In the Adweek piece, Zulu Alpha Kilo founder and CCO Zak Mroueh explained why his agency has refused to do spec work for five years: “This approach allows us to support our clients’ brands rather than using the resources our clients pay for to gain new business.”


Mike Wolfsohn of High Wide & Handsome said, “An agency would have a significantly higher chance of walking away profitable if it took the capital resources it invests in a pitch and bet it all on red or black in Vegas.”

So will the spec spots cease? David Baldwin of North Carolina’s Baldwin& told Adweek that his agency had no choice but to create such work after eschewing it for years.

Perhaps more importantly, can clients continue to get away with this?

Maybe you’ve heard of a company called Lyft.


Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
Art Director: Guilherme Bermejo
Writer: Nick Doerr
Agency Producer: Tara Handley
Production House: Zulubot
Director: Zak Mroueh
Production House Producer: Tara Handley/Daniel Kaplan
Director of Photography: Albert Huh
Casting Director: Shasta Lutz
Video Post Facility / Editing Company: Zulubot
Editor: Mike Headford
Colourist/Transfer: Roslyn Di Sisto /Smith
Audio Post Facility/Music House: Zulubot
Producer: Tara Handley
Engineer: Stephen Stepanic