Small Agency Conference and Awards

Zulu Alpha Kilo, Humanaut Take Top Honors at Small Agency Awards

Mexico's Anonimo Takes International Honor

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The staff of Zulu Alpha Kilo; they refer to themselves as Zuligans.
The staff of Zulu Alpha Kilo; they refer to themselves as Zuligans. Credit: Zulu Alpha Kilo

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.

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The complete list of winners across the competition's 16 categories is:

Small Agency of the Year
Gold: Zulu Alpha Kilo, Toronto, Canada
Silver: DeepLocal, Pittsburgh, Pa.
1-10 Employees
Gold: Humanaut, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Silver: Reach Agency, Santa Monica, Calif.
11-75 Employees
Gold: Zambezi, Culver City, Calif.
Silver: Chandelier, New York
76-150 Employees
Gold: Proof, Austin, Texas
Silver: ISL, Washington, D.C.
Northeast
Gold: Fake Love, New York
Silver: Badger & Winters, New York
Midwest
Gold: Solve, Minneapolis
Silver: Archrival, Lincoln, Neb.
Southeast
Gold: Breensmith, Atlanta, Ga.
Silver: Republica, Miami, Fla.
Southwest
Gold: Proof, Austin, Texas
Silver: Loomis, Dallas, Texas
West
Gold: Young Jenkins, Boulder, Colo.
Silver: Duncan/Channon, San Francisco, Calif.
Northwest
Gold: Wexley School for Girls, Seattle, Wash.
Silver: eROI, Portland, Ore.
International
Gold: Anonimo, Mexico City, Mexico
Silver: Mr. President, London
Campaign of the Year -- Integrated
Gold: Organic Valley, Save the Bros (Humanaut, Chattanooga, Tenn.)
Silver: Warner Bros., Be the Batman (Battery, Los Angeles)
Campaign of the Year -- Digital
Gold: Krispy Kreme, World's Tastiest Coupon (Baldwin&)
Silver (tie): Stance, Shop With the Force (Zambezi)
Silver (tie): Netflix Socks (DeepLocal)
Campaign of the Year -- Pro Bono
Gold: Jesse's Deli, #JessesPricedOut (DCX Growth Accelerator, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Silver: Bridges Academy, Educating the Exceptional (Terri & Sandy, New York)
Campaign of the Year -- B2B
Gold: Justworks B2B (Circus Maximus, New York)
Silver: Braintree, Targeting Smart People (Noble People, New York)
Culture
Gold: Connelly Partners, Boston, Mass.
Silver: Adlucent, Austin, Texas

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Advertising Age is the leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for the marketing and media community. Ongoing coverage of strategic topics like CMO Strategy and data-driven marketing is complemented by breaking news on digital, social media and more. The 85-year-old media brand also produces industry rankings including the 200 Leading National Advertisers report, Agency A-List and the annual Agency Report.

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