The Best Work You May Never See: Zulu Alpha Kilo Makes Lemonade Out Of Big Holding Company Lemons, Celebrates Indie Agencies


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Nov. 4, 2019


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Over the past few years, Toronto’s Zulu Alpha Kilo have created videos tackling a variety of well-known industry pain points, from spec work to the RFP process. Now, they’re 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 Canadian publication strategy.

The film was produced by Zulubot, written by the team of Michael Siegers and Jonah Flynn, and directed by Zulu founder and creative director Zak Mroueh.


Agency Zulu Alpha Kilo Zak Mroueh, creative director; Michael Siegers, art director; Jonah Flynn, writer; Colleen Allen, producer. Production Zulubot Zak Mroueh, director; Paul Steinberg, DP; Tom Evans, exec producer; Jesse Posthumus, editor; Rob Morrice, audio mixer. Casting Jigsaw Shasta Lutz Transfer Alter Ego Eric Whipp. Audio Dino Cuzzolino

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