Canadian shop Zulu Alpha Kilo last night was named Small Agency of the Year at the 2016 Ad Age Small Agency Awards, which salute outstanding independent shops with 150 or fewer employees.
The Small Agency Awards were launched in 2009 by Ad Age, the leading global source of news, intelligence, and conversation for the marketing and media community, to ensure that the innovative campaigns and brand ideas generated by smaller companies receive the recognition they deserve.
The complete list of winning agencies -- which were honored at a ceremony in Miami Beach last night attended by more than 300 industry executives who attended the Small Agency Conference -- can be found below. Profiles of all the winning agencies will be showcased in the August 1 edition of Ad Age.
Named for the NATO Phonetic spelling of the agency's founder Zak Mroueh, Zulu Alpha Kilo turned out stunning work for clients including Cineplex, for which it created a charmingly beautiful short film called "Lily and the Snowman" that has been viewed more than 30 million times across multiple platforms. The agency also warned consumers about the dangers of overspending during the holiday season with a clever campaign for Canadian debt payment system Interac that, among other things, showed toys in a shop signing "Debt, debt, debt" to the tune of "The Sugarplum Fairy." Moreover, the agency's resolve never to work on spec and its decision to resign its largest client -- and still thrive -- showed that Zulu Alpha Kilo's independent streak could also be good for business.
"This contest proves without a doubt that amazing work does not only come from large agencies, and that the caliber of creative from small shops is rising every year," said Ad Age Editor Ken Wheaton. "We had a flood of really excellent entries from many corners of the world and the judging was extremely difficult."
Integrated Campaign of the Year went to Humanaut for a decidedly U.S. marketer, LaFarge, Wisc.-based dairy company. The "Save the Bros" effort from the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based agency humorously gives musclemen a healthier option than protein shakes with the company's Organic Fuel.
Mexico City-based Anonimo took home International Agency of the Year with innovative campaigns for Sprite and a local language school. To reflect Sprite's sassy personality, the shop turned a Christmas tradition on its ear and suggested a gift swap in which people give up bad presents they don't want to others that do. To help teach English to Mexicans, it dreamed up "Instaclass," Instagram-inspired flashcards, for Interlingua. And it brought Coke's "Share a Coke" effort to blind consumers by putting Braille on the cans.
The complete list of winners across the competition's 16 categories is:
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