Here's what happens when an independent agency sells up

Published by

Zulu Alpha Kilo is raising a glass (of lemonade) to independent agencies in adland with a funny spot that shows what happens after a company sells out to a buyer.

The Toronto agency has created videos tackling a variety of well-known industry pain points over the past few years, addressing things like spec work and the RFP process. Now, it’s taken on the subject of holding companies and what happens to an agency after being sold.


Last year, Zulu released World's Worst RFP

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 pre-packaged 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 him from his own firm.

#SayNotoSpec was launched by the agency in 2015

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.

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


This year's video gives a high five to indies


« Back to Company news