Zulu Alpha Kilo Vets Launch New Agency

By Patrick Coffee 

the garden

Industry veteran Shane Ogilvie, who spent the last three years as ECD at Toronto’s Zulu Alpha Kilo, has left that shop to co-found his own business with former Zulu Executive Planning Director Shari Walczak.

Their venture, The Garden North America, will function as a self-described “new breed of creative company.” What does that mean?

The key, it seems, is flexibility. The agency wants potential clients to know that it can do traditional advertising…but it can also do lots of other stuff too.

As the release puts it, “Anything can grow in a garden.” From Ogilvie himself:

“Our output will be different for every company because it will be based on their individual needs…could be a brand repositioning or social strategy, or it could involve operational design or customer experience innovations. Because the process starts further upstream, the possibilities are endless.”

Rather than hire in-house teams to do that work, The Garden will “crowdsource” it:

“Ogilvie and Walczak say The Garden will employ a unique model wherein teams of experts will be custom built and brought in to address specific problems.”

Ogilvie writes from experience: after starting his career at Holmes and Lee (now Reason Partners), he spent more than six years as a senior copywriter and ACD at DDB Canada, working on Capital One, State Farm, Budweiser, Subaru, and various other accounts; Grey Canada later hired him as a creative director.

At Zulu, Ogilvie’s ECD credit appeared on recent campaigns created for Corona, Audi, and Coke Zero.

Walczak also brings two decades of agency experience to the new role: prior to joining Zulu in 2012 as executive strategy director, she was strategic planning director at fellow Toronto shop john st.; previous titles include VP/GM/senior brand strategist at Cossette and account-based roles at Leo Burnett’s Toronto office.

The Garden has not signed formal agreements with any clients at the moment, but its principals are “currently working with several companies who have shown interest in the new model,” so we should have updates soon.

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