Zulu Alpha Kilo Pokes Fun at How Far Agencies Go to Chase Awards

By Kyle O'Brien 

Imagine a doctor coming to your door to convince you to get open heart surgery so he can win an award for best cardiac surgeon. Or a lifeguard asking you to pretend to drown so he can save you and win whatever lifeguard awards are out there. Sounds a bit outlandish.

That’s the idea behind Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo’s short film spoofing advertising’s awards season. With its “Awards Gone Wild” video, the agency pokes fun at embellishing results of case videos, creating bogus campaigns or running ads without client approval just to try and win awards. The film lampoons the industry’s obsession with trophies by showing what would happen if other professions resorted to the same tactics to win awards.


Aside from the lifeguard and the heart surgeon, the film shows two small girls trying to win a bake sale award by having customers hold piles of empty cookie boxes to enhance their case study video, people trying to convince a dog walker to make an ad and a tattoo artist offering to tattoo a whole family to boost their brand.

The satire by Zulu hopes to start a conversation about awarding real work again. Many agencies may know the feeling of seeing a campaign win gold and wondering if the ad actually ran or the client was real. As long as it looks great in the case study, Zulu sees that the work doesn’t even have to be real anymore.

“This year, it really hit home how much time, effort and money we all spend on awards shows. In speaking with leaders in other agencies, there were times where it felt like we’re all working in the case study business, not the advertising business.” Zulu Alpha Kilo founder and CCO Zak Mroueh said in a statement. “With this video, we wanted to poke fun at ourselves as an industry, while also starting a conversation about getting back to awarding real work.”

“Awards Gone Wild” debuted at Strategy Magazine’s Agency of the Year competition in Toronto, hosted by Canada’s largest industry trade publication. As part of the show, top agencies are invited to create their own self-promo videos about whatever subject they want.

Zulu Alpha Kilo won Silver Agency of the Year for real work the agency did for actual clients. Agency Rethink won for top agency, digital and design categories. Rethink has made its own spoofs over the years, including one making fun of case study videos.


Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo

Chief Creative Officer and Creative Director: Zak Mroueh

ACD/Art Director: Michael Siegers

ACD/Writer: Jonah Flynn

Account Team: Kara Oddi, Amy Nguyen

Producer: Lauren Schell, Jac Benoit

Production House: Zulubot

Director: Zak Mroueh

Post Production Company: Zulubot

Executive Prodcuer: Tom Evans

Director of Photography: Tony Edgar

Second Camera: Billy Stefanidis

Editor: Brian Noon

Casting: Jigsaw Casting—Shasta Lutz

Online: Felipe Chaparro

Colour: Alter Ego Post

Colourist: Conor Fisher

Audio Recordist: Stephen Dranitsaris

Audio Engineer: Dino Cuzzolino